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A Critical Study of the Covenant 
of 'Umar 











PN the middle of India it is hard to get books ; I 
could find only one Jewish book and some only of 
the Christian authorities. This explains some of 
the deficiencies of my work. Much more than appears 
between inverted commas is translation, hence some 
variations in spelling and some unevenness in the 
English. My debt to von Kremer, Mez, Browne, 
Shedd, and Sir T. W. Arnold is obvious. Chap- 
ters VIII and XIII appeared in the Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, the former has been rewritten 
and the latter revised. I used Mr. H. I. Bell's 
translation of the papyri. He suggests that the 
three taxes mentioned on p. 201 are land tax, poll-tax, 
and the tax for the support of officials. If some of the 
tales told by Muslims and repeated here are not true, 
it does not matter much. If invented, they must 
have been possible at the time of invention, or the 
inventor thought that they represented the true 
Muslim policy. 

Dates are of the Hejira unless otherwise marked. 
The only contraction used is * b.', * son of '. Arabic 
history is full of proper names ; only the more 
important are put in the index. 

It is a pleasant duty to thank Prof. W. B. 
Stevenson, of Glasgow, Maulvi Abd ul Aziz Memon 
and Dr. S. Hadi Hasan, of Aligarh, for help given. 
The last named also undertook the wearisome task 
of reading the proofs. 




INTRODUCTION . . . . . . i 




IV. A RIOT IN CAIRO . . . . 61 
V. CHURCH AND STATE . . . . 78 



VIII. DRESS .. .. .. ..115 


X. SOCIAL CONDITIONS . . . . . . 137 


XII. HOLY GROUND . . . . . . 175 

XIII. TAXATION . . . . . . . . 197 

CONCLUSION . . . . . . 229 


INDEX .. .. .. ..239 


A'FTJER the death of Muhammad, in A.D. 632, his 
community was ruled by three caliphs, who kept 
Medina, the City of the Prophet, as their capital. 
That was the time of the most spectacular conquests. 
The system of administration was simple. Arabs 
were appointed governors of the provinces and to a 
few of the chief posts in them, while most of the 
subordinate officials retained their posts. The great 
innovation was that the Arabs became the standing 
army and militia, and were paid by the state to protect 
it, the provincials supplying the money. Such orga- 
nization of the state as there was was the work of 'Umar 
I, who ruled from A.H. 13 to 23, A.D. 634 to 644. 

From A.H. 40 to 132, A.D. 661 to 750, the Umayyad 
caliphs ruled. They moved the capital to Damascus, 
where the government was surrounded by a Chris- 
Jtian population and exposed to the influence of an 
old civilization. Mu'awia, the first caliph, owed his 
success largely to having done his duty as an Arab 
and avenged the murder of 'Uthman, and in con- 
sonance with this he and his successors lived as Arab 
chiefs rather than as rulers of a great empire. They 
were Arabs first and Muslims second. The words 
attributed to Mu'awia, * I found that the people of 
Egypt were of three sorts, one-third men, one-third 
like men, and one-third not men, i.e. Arabs, con- 
verted foreigners, and those who pretend to be 
Muslims, the Copts ', reveals the Umayyad mind. 1 

1 M., i,so. 


The words, c those who pretend to be Muslims ', are 
probably an addition, but otherwise the saying may 
well be genuine. The chief distinction in that age 
was to be an Arab. 

At first the idea was that no Muslim paid 'any- 
thing to the state, rather he was kept by it. In 
theory all revenue, except the profits of crown lands, 
came from non-Muslims. It is doubtful how far the 
religious taxes paid by Muslims were applied to 
their rightful object, the relief of the poor ; they 
may have gone into the common purse of the state. 
As the provincials turned Muslim, and claimed ex- 
emption from tribute, the revenue diminished, and it 
was found necessary to compel the converts to pay. 
'Umar II (A.H. 99-101, A.D. 717-720), who modelled 
himself on his namesake, tried to make a state in 
which all Muslims were equal, but died before he 
could accomplish much. Throughout the dynasty 
1 the antithesis was between Arab and non-Arab. 

It was a popular saying at Damascus that under 
the caliph Walld men talked of fine buildings, under 
Sulaiman of cookery and women, and under 'Umar 
II of religion. The epigram illustrates the fact that 
the Umayyad caliphs took little interest in religion, 
and that Muslim law began its development away 
from the court and government. 

The Umayyads fell as a result of internal strife 
and of an attack from without, which promised to 
elevate the family of the Prophet to the throne. 

From A.H. 132 to 656, A.D. 750 to 1258, the 
Abbasids reigned, though they did not always rule. 
As they had been raised to power by Persians who 
were devoted to the family of the Prophet, the 


Abbasid caliphs were Muslims first and then 
monarchs in the style of the Great King. As Mus- 
lims they were exact in the performance of their 
religious duties, and often genuinely interested in 
religion. As most of their supporters were Persians, 
the Arabs lost their place of pride, and any Muslim, 
whatever his race, might hope for success at court. 

As the antithesis between Arab and non-Arab 
disappeared, so that between Muslim and non- 
Muslim was sharpened. The salaries of the Arabs 
were stopped and all men paid taxes, though non- 
Muslims still paid their special poll-tax. 

At the beginning of the dynasty the Abbasids 
ruled the whole Muslim world except Spain. In 
the reign of Mamun (A.H. 198-218,^A.D. 813-833) 
we find hereditary governors of provinces, and 
about A.H. 250, A.D. 864, Egypt became practically 
independent under Ahmad b. Tulun. Then separate 
kingdoms arose in the east, while the caliphs 
entrusted their fortunes to Turkish mercenaries, 
who often tyrannized over their so-called masters. 

In A.H. 334, A.D. 946, the Dailamite family of 
Buwaih, who belonged to the sh?a sect, conquered 
Baghdad, and the caliphs became puppets in the 
hands of schismatics. 

In A.H. 358, A.D. 959, the Fatimid caliphs, who 
also belonged to the shfa sect, conquered Egypt, 
and later Syria, and held them for two and a half 


In A.H. 431, A.D. 1040, the Seljuk Turks founded 
a kingdom, and in A.H. 447, A.D. 1055, they took 
Baghdad. The caliph kept up the form of sove- 
reignty with his vizier and ministers, but all powei 


was in the hands of the Turks. When their might 
decayed, in A.H. 552, A.D. 1156, the Muslim world 
split into a number of small states, of which 
Baghdad, the seat of the caliph, was by no means 
the most important. Most of these were wiped out 
by the Mongols when they sacked Baghdad in A.H. 

Long before this the laws fixing the status of 
the non-Muslim subjects had been made, some by 
lawyers, some by caliphs. The lawyers' laws seem 
to have been complete by A.H. 200, A.D. 815, while 
the laws of Mutawakkil (A.H. 232-247, A.D. 47-861) 
sufficed for later monarchs, who only put them in 
force again. It depended on the temper of the 
monarch or the political exigencies of the time 
whether they were enforced or not. 


UNDER the rule of the caliphs those who did not 
confess the Muslim faith were under certain restric- 
tions both in public and private life. This was the 
price they paid for the privilege of living under 
Muslim government. The only religions recognized 
as entitled to this privilege were the Christian, 
Jewish, Magian, Samaritan, and Sabian. Adherents 
of these were called * the people of protection ' 
(aklu dh-dhimmatf) or dhimmis. It was held that 
the words of the Koran (9, 27), * Until they pay 
tribute out of hand, and they be humbled ', justified 
these restrictions/ A list of them is contained in 
the 'covenant of 'Umar I'. This is recorded in 
several forms. One is given in a letter from 'Umar, 
in which he quotes a letter from some Christians. 

* When you came to us we asked of you safety 
for our lives, our families, our property, and the 
people of our religion on these conditions ; to pay 
tribute out of hand and be humiliated ; not to hinder 
any Muslim from stopping in our churches by 
night or day, to entertain him there three days and 
give him food there and open to him their doors ; 
to beat the nakus * only gently in them and not to 
raise our voices in them in chanting ; not to shelter 
there, nor in any of our houses, a spy of your 

* A board beaten with a stick or hammer, taking the place of bells in 
eastern churches. In Spain the word is used for bell. 


enemies ; not to build a church, convent, hermitage* 1 
or cell, nor repair those that are dilapidated, nor 
assemble in any that is in a Muslim quarter, nor 
in their presence ; not to display idolatry nor ir^vite 
to it, nor show a cross on our churches, nor In any 
of the roads or markets of the Muslims ; not to learn 
the Koran nor teach it to our children ; not to pre- 
vent any of our relatives from turning Muslim if he 
wish it; to cut our hair in front; to tie the zunriar 
round our waists ; to keep to our religion ; not to 
resemble the Muslims in dress, appearance, saddles, 
the engraving on our seals (that we should engrave 
them in Arabic) ; not to use their kunyas ; 2 to honour 
and respect them, to stand up for them when we meet 
together ; to guide them in their ways and goings ; 
not to make our houses higher (than theirs) ; not 
to keep weapons or swords, nor wear them in a town 
or on a journey in Muslim lands ; not to sell wine 
or display it ; not to light fires with our dead in a 
road where Muslims dwell, nor to raise our voices at 
their (? our) funerals, nor bring them near Muslims ;* 
not to strike a Muslim ; not to keep slaves who have 
been the property of Muslims. We impose these 
terms on ourselves and our co-religionists ; he who 
rejects them has no protection.' 3 

Another form of the covenant is given in a letter 
to Abu 'Ubaida, the chief commander in Syria and 
apparently from Damascus. 

' When thou earnest into our land we asked of thee 

1 Kall&ya t SynajcJ{ellitha. In other copies the word is corrupt. It may 
stand for Kall&ya or Kullaisa* which is found in the Mustatraf. Kullais 
was the name of a church in Sanaa, and has become a common noun. 

1 The titles, ' father of ', ' son of ', ' mother of '. LA., 1, 178. 


safety for our lives and the people of our religion, 
and we imposed these terms on ourselves ; not to 
build in Damascus and its environs church, convent, 
chapel, monk's hermitage, not to repair what is 
dilapidated of our churches nor any of them that are 
in Muslim quarters ; not to withhold our churches 
from Muslims stopping there by night or day ; to 
open their doors to the traveller and wayfarer ; not 
to shelter there nor in our houses a spy, not to hide 
one who is a traitor to the Muslims ; to beat the 
nakus only gently in our churches, not to display a 
cross on them, not to raise our voices in prayer or 
chanting in our churches, not to carry in proces- 
sion a cross or our book, not to take out Easter 
or Palm Sunday processions ; not to raise our 
voices over our dead, nor to show fires with them 
in the markets of the Muslims, nor bring our 
funerals near them ; not to sell wine nor parade 
idolatry in companies of Muslims ; not to entice 
a Muslim to our religion nor invite him to it ; 
not to keep slaves who have been the property 
of Muslims ; * not to prevent any relative from 
entering Islam if he wish it; to keep our religion 
wherever we are ; not to resemble the Muslims in 
wearing the kalansuwa? the turban, shoes, nor in 
the parting of the hair, nor in their way of 
riding; not to use their language nor be called 
by their names ; to cut the hair in front and 
divide our forelocks ; to tie the zunriar round our 
waists ; not to engrave Arabic on our seals ; not to 
ride on saddles ; not to keep arms nor put them in 
our houses nor wear swords; to honour Muslims 

1 Ar-raldku 'Uadlna jarat 'alaihim siham ul-muslimln. 3 A tall cap. 


in their gatherings, to guide them on the road, to 
stand up in public meetings when they wish it ; not 
to make our houses higher than theirs; not to 
teach our children the Koran ; not to be partners 
with a Muslim except in business; to entertain 
every Muslim traveller in our customary style and 
feed him in it three days. We will not abuse a 
Muslim, and he who strikes a Muslim has forfeited 
his rights/ * 

The version given in the Mustalraf is very like 
Abu 'Ubaida's, but one phrase has been omitted 
(whether by the fault of the compiler or a copyist 
could only be decided by an examination of the 
manuscripts), so that it reads, l not to build in or 
near our cities churches, convents, chapels, and 
cells; not to repair those that are dilapidated by 
day or night ; to open their doors to the traveller 
and wayfarer.' 2 

There are some very curious points in this 
covenant. It is not usual for a conquered people to 
decide the terms on which they shall be admitted to 
alliance with the victors. Again, it is strange that 
the conquered Christians should forbid themselves 
all knowledge of the Koran, and yet quote it to the 
caliph, * to pay tribute out of hand and be humbled '. 
The covenant is attributed now to 'Umar and now 
to his general. This is not strange if it were 
concluded by the general and ratified by the caliph. 
It is strange that, in the popular form, it is a treaty 
with a nameless town. If it had been made with 
Damascus, the capital of the province, one would 
expect the fact to have been remembered. The other 

1 LA., 1,149. Must., 1,124. 


alternative is that it was first made with a place 
the name of which was forgotten, and then it was 
assumed to be the treaty between Abu 'Ubaida and 
Damascus. This view might be supported by the 
existence of other treaties with Damascus. These 
vary, from Khalid's * This is what Khalid b. Walld 
gave to the inhabitants of Damascus. He gave them 
security for their persons, property, churches, and 
the wall of their city. None of their houses shall be 
destroyed or confiscated. On these terms they have 
alliance with God, and the protection of His Prophet, 
the caliphs, and the believers. Nothing but good 
shall befall them if they pay tribute,' * to such as 
this ' These are the terms imposed on the dhimmis 
of Syria (or Damascus) ; to bring back lost animals ; 
to build bridges for travellers out of their own means; 
to entertain a Muslim traveller three days; not to 
abuse or strike a Muslim ; not to display a cross in 
any gathering of Muslims ; not to let a pig stray 
into any Muslim house ; not to carry wine in any 
gathering of them ; to light beacons for the soldiers ; 
not to betray the Muslims ; not to build any new 
church nor beat the nakus before the call to prayer ; 
not to display flags in their feasts nor to carry arms 
then ; not to show arms in their houses.' 2 

On the other hand, no treaty with any Syrian 
town at all resembles the covenant; they are all 
quite simple. That with Hims may be taken as 
typical. ' The inhabitants of Hims made peace with 
him on condition that he gave them security for 
their persons, property, the city wall, the churches 
and the mills. He set apart a quarter of the church 

1 B., 121 ; I.A., 1, 241. LA., 1, 150. 


of St. John as a mosque, and imposed tribute oy. 
those who remained.' 1 Even that with Jerusalem, 
made by 'Umar in person, is not nearly so detailed. 
The important clauses of it are. * He gave thfem 
security for their lives, property, churches, *and 
crosses, their sick and healthy, and the rest of their 
religion. Their churches shall not be used as dwel- 
lings nor destroyed, nor they (the churches), nor 
their estates, nor their crosses, nor their property be 
diminished in any way. They shall not be per- 
secuted for religion's sake. No Jew shall dwell with 
them there. Whoso wishes to go to the Greeks 
and take his property with him shall leave his 
churches and crosses. There shall be no payment 
of tribute till the harvest is gathered in.' 2 

Suspicion arises that the covenant is not the 
work of 'Umar. It presupposes closer intercourse 
between Christians and Muslims than was possible 
in the early days of the conquest. We cannot save 
it by arguing that it was legislation for the future. 
That was not the way of 'Umar and his advisers; 
as statesmen they lived from hand to mouth, and 
did not look to the future. Sufficient proof of this 
is found in the laws about tribute. These assumed 
that the Arabs would continue to live on the labour 
of the dhimmis ; so that when these latter were con- 
verted in crowds to Islam, the finances of the state 
and the state itself received a grievous and quite un- 
expected shock. It has been argued that Syria was 
the frontier province and more exposed to war with 
Byzantium, therefore, it was needful to impose 
special restrictions on the inhabitants. To which it 

1 B., 131. * T., I, 2405. 


i$ enough to say that only part of the province was 
exposed to the danger of foreign war, that al Jazira 
North Mesopotamia was in the same or even a 
higher degree the seat of war with the Greeks, and 
we hear nothing of these rules being enforced there. 
Later they were more or less enforced throughout 
the Muslim world, but there is no evidence to show 
that they were enforced in Syria in the days of 

But this is not all. There is another form of the 
covenant which is said to have been reached after 
a conversation between 'Umar, Abu 'Ubaida, and 
the patrician Constantine. It runs as follows: 
1 These are the terms imposed on the Christians. 
The rich are to pay forty-eight dirhams, the middle 
class twenty-four, and the poor twelve. They are 
not to build churches, not to lift up a cross in the 
presence of Muslims, and to beat the riakus inside 
the churches only. They are to share their houses 
that the Muslims may dwell in them, otherwise I 
['Umar] shall not be easy about you. They are to 
give that part of the churches towards Mecca as 
mosques for the Muslims, for they are in the middle 
of the towns. They are not to drive pigs into the 
presence of Muslims. They are to entertain them as 
guests three days and nights. They are to provide 
mounts, for those on foot, from village to village. 
They are to help them and not to betray them. 
They are not to make agreements with their 
enemies. He who breaks these conditions may be 
slain and his women and children made slaves/ 1 

1 Ghazi, 389. 


The conclusion forced on one is that no one kney 
what the covenant of 'Umar was; and that any 
collection of peace terms might be glorified with his 
name. It would seem that it was an exercise in the 
schools of law to draw up pattern treaties* One 
such is preserved in the Kitdb ul Umm. It may be 
quoted as the fullest statement of the limitations 
imposed on the people of the book. After a protocol, 
in which the name of the contracting country and 
its prince could be inserted, it proceeds : 

* I, and all Muslims, promise you and your fellow 
Christians security as long as you and they keep 
the conditions we impose upon you. Which are: 
you shall be under Muslim laws and no other, and 
shall not refuse to do anything we demand of you. 
If any of you says of the Prophet, of God's book or 
His religion what is unfitting, he is debarred from 
the protection of God, the Commander of the Faith- 
ful, and all Muslims ; "the conditions on which 
security was given are annulled; and the Com- 
mander of the Faithful has put his property and life 
outside the pale of the law*like the property and 
lives of enemies. If one of you commits fornication 
with or marries a Muslim woman, or robs a Muslim 
on the highway, or turns a Muslim from his religion, 
or helps their enemies as a soldier or guide to 
Muslim weaknesses, or shelters their spies, he has 
broken his agreement, and his life and property are 
without the law. He who does lesser harm than 
this to the goods or honour of a Muslim shall be 
punished. We shall scrutinize your dealing with 
Muslims, and if you have done anything unlawful 
for a Muslim we shall undo it and punish you ; e.g. 


if you have sold to a Muslim any forbidden thing, as 
wine, pigs, blood, or an (unclean) carcase, we shall 
annul the sale, take the price from you (if you have 
received it) or withhold it from you (if it has not 
been paid) ; we shall pour out the wine or blood 
and burn the carcase. If he (the Muslim) wishes it 
to be destroyed we shall do nothing to him, but we 
shall punish you. You shall not give him any 
forbidden thing to eat or drink, and shall not give 
him a wife in the presence of your witnesses nor in 
an illegal marriage. We shall not scrutinize nor 
enquire into a contract between you and any other 
unbeliever. If either party wishes to annul the 
contract, and brings a request to us, if we think 
that it should be annulled we shall annul it, if it is 
legal we shall allow it. But if the object has been 
taken and lost we shall not restore it, for a sale 
between unbelievers has been finished. If you or 
any other unbeliever asks for judgment we shall 
give it according to Muslim law ; if we are not 
approached we shall not interfere between you. If 
you kill accidentally a Muslim or an ally, Christian 
or not, then the relatives (of the homicide) shall pay 
blood money, as among Muslims. For you, relatives 
are on the father's side. If a homicide has no relatives 
then his estate must pay. A murderer shall be 
killed unless the heirs wish to take blood money, 
which shall be paid at once. A thief, if his victim 
complains, shall have his hand cut off, if this is the 
punishment, and shall pay a fine. The slanderer 
shall be punished if the punishment is fixed; if 
not, he shall be punished according to Muslim law. 
You shall not display in any Muslim town the cross 


nor parade your idolatry, nor build a church ncy 
place of assembly for your prayers, nor beat the 
ndkus, nor use your idolatrous language about Jesus, 
the son of Mary, to any Muslim. You shall wfear 
the zunnar above all your clothes, cloaks * and 
others, so that it is not hidden ; you shall use 
peculiar saddles and manner of riding, and make 
your kalansuwas different from those of the Mus- 
lims by a mark you put on them. You shall not 
take the crest of the road nor the chief seats in 
assemblies, when Muslims are present. Every free 
adult male of sound mind shall pay poll-tax, one 
dinar of full weight, at new year. He shall not 
leave his town till he has paid and shall not 
appoint a substitute to pay it, one who pays no 
jizya till the beginning of the year. A poor man is 
liable for his jizya till it is paid ; poverty does not 
cancel any of your obligations nor abrogate the 
protection given you. [Text ?] If you have anything 
we shall take it. The jizya is the only burden on 
your property as long as you stay in your town or 
travel in Muslim land, except as merchants. You 
may not enter Mecca under any conditions. If you 
travel with merchandise you must pay one-tenth to 
the Muslims, you may go where you like in Muslim 
land, except Mecca, and may stay in any Muslim 
land you like except the Hedjaz, where you may 
stay three days only till you depart. 

* These terms are binding on him who has hair 
under his clothes, is adult, or has completed fifteen 
years before this date, if he agrees to them ; if not, 
there is no treaty with him. * Your little boys, im- 
mature lads, lunatics, and slaves do not pay jistya* 


If a lunatic becomes sane, a boy grows up, a slave is 
set free and follows your religion, he pays jizya.* 
The terms are binding on you and those who 
accfept them; we have no treaty with those who 
refuse them. We will protect you and your lawful 
(according to our law) property against any one, 
Muslim or not, who tries to wrong you, as we 
protect ourselves and our own property; our 
decisions about it will be the same as those about 
our own property, and ourselves. Our protection 
does not extend to forbidden things, like blood, 
carcases, wine and pigs, but we will not interfere 
with them ; only you must not obtrude them 
on Muslim towns. If a Muslim or other buys them 
we will not force him to pay, for they are forbidden 
and have no price ; but we will not let him annoy 
you about them, and if he does it again we will punish 
him, but will not force him to pay. You must fulfil 
all the conditions we have imposed on you. You 
must not attack a Muslim nor help their enemies by 
word or deed. 

* The treaty of God and His promise and the most 
complete fulfilment of promise He has imposed on 
any of His creatures; you have the treaty of God 
and His promise and the protection of N.N. the 
Commander of the Faithful, and of the Muslims to 
fulfil their obligations towards you. Your sons, 
when they grow up, have the same obligations as 
you. If you alter or change them then the protec- 
tion of God, of N.N. the Commander of the Faithful, 
and of the Muslims is taken from you. He who is at a 
distance, yet receives this document and approves 
it, these are the terms that are binding on him and 


on us, if he approves them ; if he does not approve, 
we have no treaty with him/ 1 

The object of the following chapters is to trace 
the rise of these various enactments, as far as that 
is possible. One difficulty is that most Muslim 
historians pay very little attention to the affairs of 
the dhimmis. Another is that in the east law is 
often the expression of the will or whim of the ruler. 
Laws are made and obeyed as long as the lawgiver 
is interested in them. When he grows bored with 
one subject or starts another hobby, things return 
in a short while to their old course. We shall see 
many examples of this. 

Before going into details there is one general 
remark to be made. In theory the dhimmi had to 
fulfil all the conditions of the covenant if he would 
claim protection. In practice a few actions only put 
him outside the protection of Muslim law. The 
lawyers did not entirely agree what these actions 

Malik, Shafe'i, and Ahmad b. Hanbal hold that 
failure to pay the poll-tax deprives them of protec- 
tion. This was not the view of Abu Hanlfa. Ahmad 
and Malik hold that four things put the dhimmi 
outside the law blasphemy of God, of His book, 
of His religion, and of His Prophet. 

Abu 1 Kasim said that eight deeds made a dhimmi 
an outlaw. They are an agreement to fight the 
Muslims, fornication with a Muslim woman, an 
attempt to marry one, an attempt to pervert a Muslim 
from his religion, robbery of a Muslim on the 
highway, acting as a spy for unbelievers or sending 

1 Umm.4,118. 


them information or acting as guide to them, and 
tlie killing of a Muslim man or woman. 1 

Abu Hanifa taught that they must not be too 
severe .with dhimmis who insulted the Prophet. 
Shafe'i gaid that one who repented of having insulted 
the Prophet might be pardoned and restored to his 
privileges. Ibn Taimiya taught that the death 
penalty could not be evaded. 2 

1 Mizan, 2, 162. 2 Andrae, Person Muhammeds, 268. 


WHEN the Arabs consolidated their conquests 
they took over the administrative system they found 
there and those officials who had not fled. An histori- 
cal parallel is given by the action of Ibn Sa'ud, the 
sultan of Nejd, when he conquered the Turkish 
province of Hufuf. None of his Arabs could or 
would do the clerical work of the minister of finance ; 
it would not have been politic to employ a local 
merchant; so he kept the Turkish official in his 
service. Sometimes the Arabs were in straits to 
find suitable men. When the capture of Caesarea 
put a finish to the conquest of Palestine the prisoners 
were sent to the caliph 'Umar. Some he gave as 
slaves to orphans of the Ansar: some he made 
clerks and employed in government service. 1 Abu 
Musa al Ash'ari had a Christian secretary. 2 On the 
other hand, it is reported that 'Umar refused to 
employ a Christian of Hira. 8 It is said that Mu'awia 
was jealous of 'Abd ur Rahman b. Khalid, and bribed 
his physician, Ibn Uthal, a Christian, to poison him. 
He rewarded the doctor by releasing him from the 
payment of tribute and making him collector of taxes 
in Hims. 4 

It was not till the reign of 'Abd ul Malik that 
official records began to be kept in Arabic instead 

1 B., 142. * 'Uyun, 1, 43 ; Ghazi, 388. 8 'Uyun, 1, 43. 

4 T., II, 82 ; Agh., 15, 12. Wellhausen doubts the appointment at 


D, in Greek, Persian, and Coptic. As told by 
Baladhuri, the story shows that the active head of 
the finance department was a Syrian in Syria and 
in Persia a Persian. Sarjun, who had been appoint- 
ed firstly Mu'awia, was secretary to the caliph and 
said to his co-religionists, 'Seek your livelihood in 
another profession, for God has taken this from you.' 1 
This gloomy prediction was not fulfilled ; indeed 
Sarjun b. Mansur was succeeded by his son, and 
it was seldom that no Christians were to be found 
in government service. 2 As late as 253 a receipt 
for taxes in Egypt was written in both Arabic and 
Greek. 3 In Isfahan Arabic was first used in the 
government offices in the time of Abu Muslim. 4 
While Walld b. 'Ukba was governor of Kufa a 
Christian was head of a prison near the town, c. 26. 5 

In Egypt the Byzantine officers were retained. 
One, named Menas, who had been made prefect of 
the north province by Heraclius, and who, being 
presumptuous and illiterate, detested the Egyptians, 
was kept at his post by the Muslims after the con- 
quest. Another, Shenouti, was made governor of the 
Rif, and Philoxenus governor of Arcadia or Fayyum. 
These men loved the pagans, detested the Christians, 
and forced them to bring to the Muslims forage, 
milk, honey, fruit, raisins, and many other things 
over and above the ordinary rations. 6 This Menas 
squeezed 32,056 pieces of gold out of Alexandria as 
tribute. He was replaced by John, who paid 22,000, 
the rightful sum fixed by the treaty. 7 

Athanasius, a native of Edessa, who held office in 

1 B,, 193, 300. M., 1, 98. Rainer, 787. I.R., 196. 

Agh., 4, 183. ' J.N., 375. ' J.N., 384. 


Egypt, is comparatively well known. Marwan fir,st 
appointed him along with Isaac, another Christian. 
He became head of the government offices in 
Alexandria, and led the other Christian officials in 
making a petition to the governor about ' church 
affairs. In official correspondence he is the 'glorious 
secretary ', and in his establishment are twenty and 
again forty-four clerks. He was treasurer to 'Abd 
ul 'Aziz. Finally he was dismissed, and one Abu 
Yarbu' appointed in his place. On his return to 
Syria his property all that he had acquired in 
Egypt was confiscated. Legend has been busy 
with him. He is said to have been paid 60,000 
dinars a year and one dinar from every soldier. Bar 
Hebraeus says that his fame reached 'Abd ul Malik, 
who made him tutor to his little brother, 'Abd ul 
'Aziz. 1 He grew very powerful, owned four thousand 
slaves, houses, villages, and gardens, and gold and 
silver like stones. From the rent of four hundred 
shops, which he owned in Edessa, he built the church 
of the Mother of God there. Sarjun, whowasaMelkite, 
envied him, and slandered him to the caliph, saying 
that he had stolen the treasures of Egypt. Moral 
suasion was employed, so Athanasius gave up what 
satisfied the caliph and still had much left for 
himself. In spite of exaggerations, it is clear that he 
had great power and used it for the benefit of his 
fellow Christians. 

A certain Theodosius, who was a prominent 
Melkite, held a high position in Alexandria. He 
went to Yazid, at Damascus, and, in return for a 

1 S., 116, 133, 135 ; B.M., 4, 1447 ; K., 50, 59 ; M., 1, 98 ; B.H., 112 ; 
Lang., 247. 


big sum of money, got a patent as governor of 
Alexandria, Mareotis and their dependencies, 
independent of the governor of Egypt. He was an 
enemy of the Coptic patriarch, and used his position 
to vex him. He extorted thirty-six dinars yearly as a 
tax for his disciples (it is possible that at this time the 
clergy, as such, did not pay taxes), the governor's 
share of the requisitions for the fleet, besides other 
monies. 1 There seems to be some exaggeration here, 
but there is no reason to doubt that a Christian 
could exercise great power. 

During the patriarchate of Alexander (81-106) 
Theodore was prefect of Alexandria. 2 In official 
letters he is called Augustalis, which was the title in 
Byzantine times of the prefect of Alexandria. 8 He 
was probably the second in command under an Arab. 
In the time of Hajjaj, Muhammad b. Marwan, the 
governor of North Mesopotamia put to death 
Anastasius b. Andrew, the headman of Edessa, and 
the chronicler adds, c up to that time Christians had 
been secretaries, prefects, and governors of districts 
for the Arabs.' 4 

'Umar II was shocked that non-Muslims should 
exercise authority over Muslims, and tried to pre- 
vent it. His letter to the governors is instructive. 
* To proceed ; God honoured, exalted and streng- 
thened His people with Islam, and put humiliation 
and shame on their opponents. He made them the 
best nation that was created for men. We will not 
give to their subjects authority over any one of them, 
nor over their revenue ; lest they stretch out their 
hands and tongues against them. We will humiliate 

1 S., 113, 137. * S., 141. 8 B.M., 4, 1392. * S.A., 1, 294. 


and disgrace them after that God had strengthened 
and honoured them. We will expose them to 
deceit and pride ; and one is never safe from their 
treachery. God says, " Take not your friends from 
outside yourselves " (K. 3, 114). They will not fail 
to corrupt you, they desire your suffering. So do 
not choose Jews and Christians as friends.' In 
Egypt he removed some of the Coptic officials and 
replaced them by Muslims. Indeed, he claims to 
have done this throughout the empire, for he writes, 
4 1 do not know a secretary or official in any part of 
your government who was not a Muslim but I dis- 
missed him and appointed in his stead a Muslim/ * 

The caliph Sulaiman made a Christian secretary, 
al Batrik b. Naka, overseer of his constructions in 
Ramla (Palestine), water channels, wells, and a 
mosque. 2 

About this time Muslims are found in subordinate 
government posts. The pay of an Arab clerk and 
the upkeep of his horses is an item in the accounts 
between A.D. 714 and 716. 8 In A.D. 710 an Arab, or 
at least a Muslim, is postmaster in a small town. 4 
This is perhaps significant, for in later times the 
postmaster was also in the secret service. Hisham, 
in a letter to Khalid ul Kasri, refers to * what you 
have done in the way of asking help from Magians 
and Christians, and making them rule over the necks 
of the Muslims, and collecting their taxes, and exer- 
cising authority over them.' 5 Mansur appointed a 
Jew, Musa, one of the two collectors of revenue. 6 It 

1 K. f 60 ; Umar, 165 ; Ath., y. 101 ; S., 143. 

B., 143. B.M., 4, 1434. B.M., 4, 1347. 

5 Mubarrad, 790. Lang., 261 ; C.M., 248 . 


is clear that the relations of Christians with authority 
were sometimes very easy. Bukam, a rich man 
from Bura, in Egypt, came to Mamun and asked to 
be n^ade headman of his town. The caliph said, 
* Turn "Muslim, become my client, and I will make 
you headman/ Bukam replied, * You have ten 
thousand Muslim clients and not one Christian.' 
Mamun laughed, and made him headman of Bura 
and district. 1 

Mutawakkil re-enacted the law that no non-Muslim 
should be in government service ; 2 he even went so 
far as to dismiss, in 247, the Christian keeper of the 
Nilometer. Abu Raddad was appointed in his 
place at a salary of six, or, according to another 
story, seven dinars monthly. 8 At the accession of 
Muktadir, however, the Christian secretaries had 
become powerful again, so complaint was made to 
the caliph, and in 296 he dismissed them. ' But this 
did not last long.' 4 In 313 a Christian was 
secretary to the head of the diwan of Lower 
Mesopotamia, one was head of the diwan of the 
palace, and two more were heads of the private 
diwan and the treasury. 5 In 319, when Husain b. 
Kasim was intriguing to become vizier, he thought 
it worth while to curry favour with the Christian 
secretaries. 6 Many of the prominent men of that 
time had Christian secretaries, Ibn abi Saj, governor 
of Armenia and Adharbaijan, Muflih, the eunuch, 
'AH b. *Isa, the vizier, Abu Sulaiman b. Daud b. 
Hamdan, one of the family ruling in Mosul, Munis 
the Victorious, and the sons of Raik. 7 Ahmad b. 

1 But., 2, 434. M,, 2, 494. K., 203, 507. 'Arib., 30. B 'Arib., 125. 
'Arib., 164. ' 'Arib., 31, 112, 135, 159, 169 ; Ed., 1, 218. 


Tulun employed a Christian architect, but lost his 
temper with him, beat him and threw him into prison. 
When he wanted to build a new mosque it was sug- 
gested that he should take pillars from churches in 
deserted villages and the Delta. He refused, because 
such pillars were unclean and he wished to build his 
mosque with clean money. His architect heard of 
the dilemma, and sent a message from prison that 
he could build a mosque without pillars except the 
two beside the mihrab* Ahmad had him brought 
from prison, his uncut hair hanging over .his face, 
and questioned him. He sketched the mosque on 
a piece of parchment, and was given the work. 
When it was finished he received a present of ten 
thousand dinars and a comfortable provision till 
his death. 1 The village of Anduna was named after 
a Christian servant of Ahmad, one whom he had 
dismissed and fined fifty thousand dinars. 2 

In Baghdad a Christian vizier, 'Abdun b. Sa'id, 
visited the kadi, Ismail b. Ishak, who rose up to 
greet him. He noticed that the witnesses and the 
rest of the company disapproved of his action. 
When the vizier had gone, he said, * I noticed your 
disapproval, but God has said, " God does not forbid 
you to have dealings with those who have not 
fought with you for religion's sake nor driven you 
out of your homes " (K. 60, 8). This man manages 
the business of Muslims, he is the ambassador 
between us and the caliph. What I did was right.* 
This speech convinced those who listened to it. 8 
One account says that non-Muslims were dismissed 
from government service by *Amr b. 1 'As, the 

1 M., 2, 265. M., 2, 269. Y.Ir., 2, 259. 


caliphs 'Abd ul Malik and Mamun, and the vizier 
Yahya b. Fadl. 1 

Ibn Sagha, who was named Paul, the Coptic 
secretary, was finance minister in Egypt during the 
Ikshhid dynasty. 2 The Fatimids attached great 
importance to the post of chief secretary, and chose 
their secretaries, both Muslims and dhimmis, for 
their skill in writing. A poet said of the Jews 
under the Fatimids: 

The Jews of this age have attained their highest hopes and 
grown strong. 

Power is theirs and wealth, from them is chosen the coun- 
sellor and the king. 

Men of Egypt, turn Jews, I advise you ; the sky has turned 
Jew. 8 

It is stated definitely that in Spain and Morocco 
no Christians and no Jews were secretaries. 4 

Mukaddasi reports in the fourth century that the 
clerks in Syria and Egypt were Christians, as were 
most of the doctors in Syria. 5 In 369 the vizier in 
Baghdad was a Christian, Nasr b. Harun. 8 When 
Ibn ul Furat was blamed for setting a Christian in 
command of the army, he defended himself against 
the charge of impiety by pleading the example 
of previous caliphs who had given office to Chris- 
tians. 7 These Christian officers received all the 
usual marks of honour, for the Muslims objected to 
kissing their hands. In 387 two Christians were 
masters of the town of Dakuk, acted as rulers in it, 
and made the Muslims their servants. Some of 
these came to Jibrail b. Muhammad and said, c You 

1 Ghazi, 392 f . M., 1, 73. * Husn, 2, 129, 146. 

4 Mak., 1, 134. 8 Muk., 183. Eel., 2,406. T Viziers, 95. 


want to fight the unbelievers, here are two all ready 
for you/ He captured the two men and seized 
their property. 1 In 380 al 'Aziz, the caliph of 
Egypt, made 'Isa b. Nestorius vizier, and Man|sseh, 
a Jew, his deputy in Syria. The vizier favoured the 
Christians and the deputy the Jews. Complaint was 
made, so the caliph tortured both of them, seized 
300,000 dinars from 'Isa and a large sum from 
Manasseh. 2 Reference is made elsewhere to Abu 
Nasr, the Christian official in Baghdad. 3 

In 393 'Isa b. Nestorius and Fahd b. Ibrahim 
were in the service of al Hakim ; in 400 Mansur b. 
'Abdun was his chief minister, and in 401 Zar'a b. 
'Isa. 4 

Abu Sa'd Ibrahim and Abu Nasr Harun were 
the sons of a Jew, Sahl of Tustar. One was a 
merchant and the other a banker, who also dealt in 
goods from Irak. They were famous for their 
extensive trade, and for giving back to the heirs 
things deposited with them by traders who had 
since died. For this they had a good reputation. 
They became important men. Ibrahim served the 
caliph az Zahir, bought all manner of goods for him, 
and advanced in favour. Az Zahir bought a black 
slave girl from him, was pleased with her, and begat 
Mustansir on her. She furthered the interests of 
Ibrahim, and when Mustansir became caliph she 
advanced him and attached him to her own service. 
When al Jarjarai died, Ibn ul Anbari became vizier. 
Abu Nasr went to pay his respects to the new vizier, 
and one of the servants insulted him. He expected 

1 Ath., y. 387; B.H., 201. Ath., y. 380 ; lyas, 1, 48. 

1 B.H., 205. * M., 2, 286. 


the vizier to rebuke the man and apologise, but the 
opposite happened, and he was again insulted. He 
then complained to his brother, who at once set the 
queep-mother against the vizier. She persuaded her 
son to dismiss him and appoint Abu Nasr Sadaka 
b. Yusuf in his place. He was a creature of Ibrahim, 
and did as he was told. This was in 436. Though 
not a minister, Ibrahim was the power behind the 
throne. 1 

In Persia the minister of Malikshah, Nizam ul 
Mulk, was alarmed at the employment of dhimmis 
by the government in place of Turks. In 484 he 
wrote : ' If a Jew or Christian, Magian or Karmathian, 
gets a position of authority or does the work of a 
Turk, carelessness is their chief characteristic ; 
there is no respect for religion, no love for the state, 
and no pity for the subjects. They (Jews, etc.) 
become very rich. The author fears the evil eye 
and knows not how this may go. In the days of 
Mahmud, Mas'ud, Tughril, and Alp Arslan no Ma- 
gian, Jew, Christian, or heretic had the boldness to 
take part in public life.' 2 Probably the writer was 
the victim of a common weakness, and ascribed to 
the past a virtue it did not possess. 

In 501 Majd ud Dm b. Muttalib was made vizier 
of the caliph in Baghdad, on condition that he did 
not employ any dhimmis in the government offices, 8 
In 506 a Jew, Abu Minja b. Isaiah, was the engineer 
or surveyor in charge of digging the canal called by 
his name.* In 519 al Amir did without a vizier, and 
appointed two heads for the government offices, one 
of whom was a Samaritan, Abu Ya'kub Ibrahim, and 

1 M., 1, 424. * Siyasetnameh, 139. Ath., y. 501. * M., 1, 72. 


a private secretary, Ibn abi Najah, a monk. This last 
lorded it over the people, directed the ministry, and 
extorted money from the Christians. Then he began 
to squeeze everybody officials, tax-farmers^ 'and 
others till all, headmen, kadis, and clerks, suffered 
from his exactions. Then al Amir had him put to 
death. 1 In 529 al Hafiz made Taj ud Dawla Bahram, 
an Armenian Christian, his vizier. He dismissed 
Muslims and appointed Armenians, and generally 
oppressed the Muslim population. Ridwan led a 
riot against him, so he fled to Aswan, and was killed 
there in 53 1. 2 Asad ud Din Shirkuh, the conqueror 
of Egypt, had joined Nur ud Dm because he had 
killed a Christian secretary in Tekrit. 3 In Egypt 
he probably obeyed the orders of Nur ud Dm, and 
dismissed all Christians from the civil service, 
though Saladin certainly employed them. Nur ud 
Dm dismissed all Christians from public service in 
Mosul, and all employed in the palace, except 
'Abdun, his servant, an old, prudent man, rich in 
gold and knowledge. 4 In 569, when the Egyptians 
were conspiring with the Franks against Saladin, 
he used a Christian to discover their secrets. 5 

The manner of collecting the taxes in Egypt and 
an irregularity in the same are described by Makrizi. 
When the Nile fell and sowing began, headquarters 
sent out a prudent man with reliable assessors who 
knew about the tribute, and often a Christian clerk, 
to survey the crops, etc ; then in the fourth Coptic 
month valiant soldiers, reliable clerks, and a different 
Christian clerk, to receive one-third of the tribute. 6 

1 M., 2, 291. a Ath., y. 531. B.H. Mu., 370. 

4 S.A., 2, 168. ' Ath., y. 569. M., 1, 86. 


In the reign of al Hafiz lidin illah, when the 
Nile flood was over, witnesses, Christians, and 
clerks were sent to the provinces to measure the 
irrigated and cultivated land and to record the taxes. 
The collector, surveyor and witnesses went to 
measure a district. A Christian clerk had stayed 
behind, and wished to cross the river into the 
district to catch up with them. A boatman took him 
across and asked for payment. The clerk was 
angry, cursed him, and said, ' I am the surveyor, 
and you want me to pay the fare for crossing ! ' 
The boatman said, * If I have a field, take it;' seized 
his mule's bridle and threw it into the boat. So the 
Christian had to pay the fare. When the survey was 
finished, and he made a clean copy of the assessment 
to take to the office in the capital, as was customary, 
he added twenty feddans to the total, and left a 
blank on one page. He showed the list to the 
witnesses and got their signatures to its accuracy. 
Then he wrote in the blank : ' The field of the 
Bridle, the name of the boatman, twenty feddans, a 
fief, four dinars the feddan, total eighty dinars ' ; and 
took the assessment to the ministry of finance. It 
was the custom, when four months of the financial 
year had elapsed, to send dare-devil soldiers, clerks, 
witnesses, and a Christian clerk to the provinces to 
collect one-third of land tax according to the assess- 
ment. This was spent on the army, which then had 
no estates as it has now. It was usual not to send the 
man who made the survey, but others. When the 
collector, the clerk, and the witnesses went to collect 
one-third of the revenue, they summoned the farmers 
on the basis of the assessment, among them 


the boatman, and they forced him to pay twenty-six 
and two-thirds dinars, one third of the eighty in the 
list. He denied having any land in the district, and 
the villagers supported him. The collector, a^ liard 
man, refused to listen, beat him with a whip, appealed 
to the signatures of the witnesses on the assessment, 
and made him sell his boat and what not to pay the 
third of the tax. 

The boatman went to Cairo and told his story to 
the caliph. The tax lists were examined, and no 
mention of the field of the Bridle was found in them. 
The guilty clerk was paraded round the various 
offices, and all Christians were dismissed from 
government service. Now al Hafiz believed in 
astrology, so the Christian clerks bribed his favourite 
astrologer to tell him that Egypt would flourish if a 
certain Christian were given power in the land. 
The caliph fell into the trap, and made this man, al 
Akhram b. Zakariah, head of the offices. He at 
once appointed more Christians than ever. They 
showed off their wealth by wearing fine clothes, and 
riding horses of the best breed. They oppressed the 
Muslims, seized the property of religious institutions, 
and kept Muslim slaves and slave girls. They even 
forced one Muslim clerk to sell his children to pay a 
fine. 1 

During the intrigues between the Egyptians and 
the Franks to drive Saladin out of Egypt, a Jewish 
secretary wrote the letters from Egypt. 2 

A Christian held some post in the army. He 
turned monk, and lived in the desert of the mountains 
of Hulwan. It is said that he discovered a treasure 

1 M., 1,405. * M., 2,22. 


that had belonged to the caliph, al Hakim. With 
it he helped the poor and fugitive of every religion. 
His fame spread, and in three years he spent large 
sums. He was brought before the sultan, who 
treated him kindly, but he refused to reveal his secret. 
The sultan then threatened him and abused him, and, 
when his patience was exhausted, he tortured him 
till he died. Several legal opinions had been given 
that he ought to be put to death, lest he should lead 
weak Muslims astray. This happened in 666. 1 
When Mansur died, inJSS, and Khalil came to the 
throne, Christian clerks who were in the service 
of the emirs of the court became highminded 
towards the Muslims, wore gorgeous raiment and 
lived in great state. One was in the service of 
an emir named ( Ain ul Ghazal. One day he met 
a broker who managed his chief's affairs. The 
broker dismounted and kissed the foot of the clerk, 
who began to curse and threaten him for his slow- 
ness in paying the price of some crops. The man 
excused himself humbly, but this only made the clerk 
behave more harshly. He told his servant to dis- 
mount, bind the broker, and lead him away. A 
crowd gathered, and accompanied him to the square 
before the mosque of Ibn Tulun. Many entreated 
him to release the man, but he refused. The crowd 
grew larger, threw him from his donkey, and set 
the broker free. He was then near his chief's house, 
who sent an officer with servants and soldiers to 
rescue him. They delivered him, and began to arrest 
some of the crowd to punish them. These raised a 
tumult, hurried to the castle, and implored the help 

1 Husn, 2, 176. 


of Nasr ullah, the sultan. He sent to enquire into 
the matter, so they told him of the high-handed con- 
duct of the Christian clerk towards the broker, and 
what had happened to themselves. He senf for 
'Ain ul Ghazal, and told the crowd to fetch the 
Christians to his presence. He also sent Badr ud 
Dm Baidar and Sinjar, and bade them bring all the 
Christians before him to be killed. They appealed 
to him, and persuaded him to proclaim, in Old and 
New Cairo, that no Christian or Jew should serve 
the emirs. He bade the emirs propose to their Chris- 
tian clerks to accept Islam ; if they refused, they were 
to have their heads cut off ; if they accepted, they 
might stop in their service. The same offer was made 
to all employees in the government offices. Many 
of the Christians hid themselves, and the mob burst 
into and plundered their houses ; their women were 
made slaves and many were killed. Badr ud Din 
Baidar at last persuaded the sultan to send the 
governor of Cairo to make a proclamation that any- 
one plundering the house of a Christian would be 
hanged. Some were caught, paraded, and beaten. 
Many clerks of the sultan and emirs were collected, 
and made to stand a little distance from the sultan. 
He ordered some to be taken to the horse market, 
a great pit to be dug, the men to be thrown into it, 
and a fire lighted on top. Baidar interceded for 
them, but the sultan would not listen, saying, ' I will 
not have a Christian civil service in my kingdom/ 
Baidar obtained the grace that those who turned 
Muslim might remain in their service, while those 
who refused were to be beheaded. He took them 
to the palace of the deputy and said, ' My influence 


availed with the sultan on one condition only. 
Those who choose their own faith will be put to 
death, those who choose Islam will be decorated and 
remain in the service/ Then Makln, one of the 
chief secretaries, came forward and said, 'Sir, which 
of our leaders will choose death for such a foul 
faith ? A faith for which we are killed and die, goes ; 
God has not set safety in it. Tell us which to 
choose that we may go to it.' Baidar burst out 
laughing and said, * Shall we choose any but Islam ?' 
Makln answered, 'We do not know, tell us and we 
will obey you.' He then called the witnesses, and 
recorded their conversion to Islam. 1 

A Christian secretary rode by the mosque of al 
Azhar wearing boots and spurs, with an Alexandrian 
jacket thrown over his head, runners in front to 
save him from the pressure of the crowd, and 
servants behind in fine clothes on light baggage 
horses. This annoyed some Muslims, who sprang 
at him, dragged him from his horse, and thought to 
kill him. A crowd collected and they let him go. 
Some of them spoke to the emir, Taz, and he pro- 
mised to get justice done them. They preferred a 
complaint to the sultan, Salih, in the presence of the 
emirs, kadis and other dignitaries, asking for a 
solemn court, to remind the Christians of the terms 
imposed on them. The patriarch and the leading 
Christians, with the head of the Jews and their 
notables, were summoned to the sultan's presence. 
The kadi 'Ala ud Dm 'Ali, the private secretary, 
read the covenant between the Muslims and the 
protected, which they had brought with them. He 

1 M., 2, 497. 


demanded from those present the acceptance of 
these terms, he recounted their many and repeated 
violations of the covenant, and they promised not to 
take service in the offices of the government or of 
the emirs, even though they pretended to 'be Mus- 
lims. They were, however, not to be forced to turn 
Muslim, Letters to this effect were sent to the 
local governors. 

The mob pursued and attacked them, caught 
them in the streets, tore off their clothes and beat 
them ; they did not leave them till they had turned 
Muslim. They lit fires to throw them in, so they hid 
in their houses and did not dare to show themselves 
abroad. The crowd followed up their weak points, 
and destroyed any houses that were higher than the 
Muslims'. The Christians were in sore straits, and 
neither they nor the Jews were seen in the streets. 
Complaint was made about the building of new 
churches, and several were pulled down. The 
governor of Cairo tried to restrain the mob, but it 
was too strong and the leaders were powerless to 
hold it. 

Orders were published that no Jew or Christian 
was to be in government service, even though he 
had turned Muslim, for he would still associate 
with his Christian family. If anyone turned Mus- 
lim he was to be watched, to make sure that he 
observed the five daily prayers and those on Friday. 
When a Christian died Muslims were to be his 
executors, and if he had no heirs the treasury took 
his estate. 1 

Ambassadors. Christians were sometimes employ- 

3 M., 2, 499. 


ed as envoys, especially to Christian powers. The 
patriarch, Dionysius, went to Egypt in 216, and, on 
his arrival, was sent by Mamun to some rebels, to 
bring % them back to their allegiance/ 

When the musician, Ziryab, went to Spain, Man- 
sur, a Jewish singer, was sent to meet him. 2 

About 344 the Spanish caliph, 'Abd ur Rahman, 
received an embassy from king Otto, and sent back 
with them the bishop, RabI'. 3 In the reign of Hakam 
II the chiefs of the protected Christians accompanied 
an ambassador. 4 

In 381 Lulu, the chamberlain of Sa'd ud Dawla, 
sent Malkutha, the Syrian, to ask help from the 
emperor Basil. 5 The catholicus of Jerusalem and the 
patriarch of Antioch were forced to use their influ- 
ence with the emperor to secure good treatment for 
Muslim captives. 6 Jamal ud Din, vizier of Kutb ud 
Dm, the emir of Mosul, sent Ignatius, the maphrian, 
as ambassador to George, king of Georgia, to ransom 
Arab captives. This happened about the year 560. 7 


Many dhimmis became government officials and 
then accepted Islam; this happened so often that 
there is no need to give examples. Occasionally con- 
versions were forced. Thus al Asbagh, son of 'Abd 
ul 'Aziz, the governor of Egypt, forced Butrus, an 
important official in upper Egypt, to be converted. 8 
Persuasion was also used. Hafs, another governor 
of Egypt, announced that all dhimmis who abandoned 

1 S.A., 2, 266 f. a Mak., 2, 85. * Mak., 1, 235. 4 Mak., 1, 249. 
Eel., 3, 218, 220. c Nish., 31. 7 B.H., 328. 8 S., 134. 


their religion would be free from khardj\ which is 

In 755 many conversions took place in Egypt, in 
Kalyub alone 450 in one day. The people turned 
Muslim and learnt the Koran. These conversions, 
however, were not altogether approved, for it was 
felt that they were only deceit and trickery, so that 
men might get posts under government and marry 
Muslim women. They succeeded so well that the 
race became quite mixed, and their descendants are 
in the majority. 2 

1 S., 164 f. 2 M., 2, 500. 


IN the covenant of 'Umar it was stipulated that 
Christians should neither build new churches nor 
repair ruinous ones and those situated in parts 
of towns inhabited by Muslims. This is an advance 
on the position in the time of Harun Rashid, when 
a lawyer held that the terms were, ' that their 
churches should not be destroyed, neither within 
nor without the towns, but that they should not 
build new '.* He upheld his opinion by this state- 
ment, ' Any newly built church or chapel may be 
pulled down. Several caliphs wished to pull down 
churches, but the townsmen produced their charters 
and canon lawyers did not support the caliph's 
plans ; for 'Umar's covenant stands till the day of 
resurrection'. 2 From this it is clear that churches 
had been built, and it is probable that the ' covenant 
of 'Umar' is not that known to us. There is an 
opinion, which may be old as it is attributed to 
Ibn 'Abbas: ' In a town which the Arabs founded 
Christians may not build a church nor beat the 
nakus, . . . but in one founded by foreigners* and 
captured by Arabs, where they surrendered, they 
may do these things.' 8 This does not exhaust the 
variety of legal opinion ; the views of the four 
schools are summarized in the following extract : 

*Kh.,82, 'Kh.,87. ' Kh., 88. 


' All schools agree that it is not allowed to build 
new churches or synagogues in towns or cities of 
Islam. They differ whether this is permitted in the 
neighbourhood (of towns). Malik, Shafe'i, and 
Ahmad do not permit it ; Abu Hanifa says that if 
the place is a mile or less from a town, it is not 
permitted ; if the distance is greater, it is. Another 
question is, whether it is allowed to restore ruinous 
or rebuild ruined churches or synagogues in 
Islamic countries. Abu Hanifa, Malik, and Shafe'i 
permit it. Abu Hanifa adds the condition that the 
church is in a place that surrendered peaceably ; if it 
was conquered by force, it is not allowed. Ahmad, 
according to the most probable version, which is also 
supported by some of his followers, and by famous 
Shafe'ites like Abu Sa'id al Istakhri and Abu 'AH b. 
abl Huraira, says that the restoration of the ruinous 
and the rebuilding of the ruined is never permitted. 
Another version of his teaching is that restoration 
of the ruinous is allowed, but not rebuilding of the 
ruined. A third version allows both.' 1 

Bar Hebraeus says that the Nestorian patriarch 
made an agreement with the Arabs, one of the terms 
of which was that the Arabs would help them to 
repair their old churches. 2 

The treaties with the various towns do not al- 
together support the legal view. Most guarantee 
the conquered the peaceful possession of their 
places of worship. 8 Those with towns in Persia 
usually guarantee the exercise of the milla, i.e. 
religious rites, and this must include the possession 

1 Mizan, 2, 211. B.H. Eccl., 2, 115 f. 
B M 130, 133, 147 ; T., I, 2655, 2657. 


of the place of worship. In both Hims 1 and Hit 2 
the Muslims seized a quarter of a church. In 
Tiberias one treaty says that half the churches were 
taken % by the Muslims, another left them all to 
their owners. 3 Three treaties with Edessa are 
quoted ; two say nothing about religion, the third 
says that no new churches are to be built. 4 Accord- 
ing to John of Nikiou, the Muslims in Egypt agreed 
not to seize any churches and not to interfere in 
any way with the Christians. In another place he 
adds, that 'Amr exacted the taxes which had 
been fixed, but took none of the property of 
the churches and committed no act of spoliation 
or plunder ; nay, he preserved the churches to the 
end of his days. 5 In the treaty with Jerusalem it is 
said that 'Umar 'gave them protection for their lives, 
property, churches, and crosses, their sick and 
sound, and the rest of their religion. Their churches 
shall not be used as dwellings, nor destroyed, nor 
they (the churches) nor their estates, nor their 
crosses, nor their property be diminished in any 
way'. That with Lydda is almost identical. 6 

The story of the churches of Damascus is as com- 
plicated as that of its capture. Tabari says nothing 
about them. There are several forms of the treaty 
which Khalid is said to have made with them, and 
all guarantee the safety of the churches. The longest 
is this, ' He gave them security for their persons, 
property, churches, and the wall of their city. None 
of their houses shall be destroyed or dwelt in. For 
this they have the promise of God, and the protec- 

1 B., 131 ; Muk., 156 ; I.H., 117. ' B., 179. * B., 116 ; Yak., 2, 159. 
* B., 172, 174. J.N., 383. T. t I 2405 f. 


tion of His Prophet, the caliphs, and the believers. 
Nothing but good shall befall them if they pay 
tribute.' 1 But Abu 'Ubaida is said to have seized 
half the churches, and a treaty in this sense agd his 
name is recorded. 2 This is supported by the story 
of an appeal to 'Umar II. Hassan b. Malik began a 
process against the natives of Damascus before 
'Umar II about a church which a former governor 
had granted to him. *Umar said, ' If it is one of the 
fifteen churches named in their treaty you have no 
case.' s Ibn 'Asakir also refers to these fifteen. 
He explains the Muslim possession of some churches 
on the ground that twelve patricians who had 
private chapels in their houses fled from the town, 
and the Muslims took the vacant dwellings. There 
is no reason to doubt the report that the natives of 
Damascus pleaded against the Arabs before 'Umar II 
about a church which someone Ibn 'Asakir says 
Mu'awia had granted to the Banu Nasr in the city. 
'Umar took it from them and gave it back to the 
Christians. Yazid b. 'Abd ul Malik restored it to 
the Banu Nasr. 4 

It is now generally agreed that the tale of the 
division of the church of S. John between the 
Muslims and Christians is a myth. It is only the 
later historians who say that it was divided. It is 
curious that the Muslims are said to have taken 
the east end of the church and made a mosque 
of it. Now the altar stood at the east end, 
and the Christians would have made the most 
strenuous efforts to save that, the most sacred 
part of the church, for their own use and 

1 B., 121. LA., 1, 178 B., 124. 4 B., 126 ; I.A., 1, 240. 


worship. Further, the east end of the town is 
still the Christian quarter, so probably they always 
lived there, near their place of worship. Both Mu- 
'awia and ' Abdul Malik wished to take the whole 
church from the Christians, but they refused to sur- 
render it. Walld made the same attempt. He tried 
to buy it. When that failed he threatened to pull 
down the other churches in the town and district. 
According to another story, he threatened to seize 
the church of S. Thomas, which was some distance 
from S. John, for the latter is described as ' within '. 
Finally he had his way, and destroyed the church of 
S.John to enlarge themosque. All accounts emphasize 
the fact that he destroyed the church. Abu 1 Fida 
states that he destroyed a church which was beside 
the mosque, and incorporated it, i.e. the site, in the 
mosque. Baladhuri and Tabari say nothing of half 
a church. A pilgrim from the west, Arculphus, who 
visited Damascus in the reign of Mu'awia, says 
distinctly, ' In which town the king of the Saracens 
has set up his rule and reigns, and a great church 
in honour of S. John the Baptist is established. 
In the same city has been made a church of the 
unbelieving Saracens, where they worship.' Every- 
thing shows that it was not till the reign of Walld 
that the Muslims took possession of the church of 
S. John. To continue the story, when 'Umar II 
came to the throne, the Christians complained of 
Walid's action. The caliph ordered the governor 
of Damascus to give the church back to them. 
The population of Damascus objected, ' Shall a 
mosque where we have prayed be turned into a 
church ? ' Finally it was agreed that the Christians 


should get the churches in the Ghuta, and give up 
all claim to S. John. 1 As a possible explanation of 
the problem of the other churches, one may suggest 
that the Muslims seized those in districts de^rted 
by Christians, and the private chapels in deserted 

Most of the treaties do not agree with the regula- 
tions in the covenant. The conclusion, therefore, is 
that the authors of them knew nothing of it. If, as 
is highly probable, many of the treaties were com- 
posed by historians, an early date for the covenant 
is even less probable. The preceding paragraphs 
have given the theories of lawyers and historians. 
Historians and geographers often give details which 
show that the practice of rulers and subjects was 
not always according to law. 

'Amr b. 1 'As gave to the Makaukas part of the 
Lake of Habash as a burial ground for Christians. 2 
In 60 or 61 part of the great church in Edessa was 
thrown down by an earthquake. Mu'awia ordered 
it to be rebuilt. 8 

The church in the monastery of Beth 'Abhe was 
built about 25 ; perhaps before Muslim rule was 
established. 4 That of Mark in Alexandria was built 
between 39 and 56, though Severus puts it rather 
later. 5 The first church in Fustat was built in Harat 
ur Rum while Maslama b. Mukhallad was governor, 
between 47 and 68. 6 When 'Abd ul 'Aziz founded 
Hulwan he allowed two Melkite servants of his to 
build a church there, and the patriarch built one also, 

* I. A., 1, 199 ; B., 125 ; Abu 1 Fida, y. 96. 

M., 1, 124 ; Husn, 1, 68. ' S.A., 1, 288 ; C.M., 231. 

4 Thomas, 1, xliii. M., 2, 492 ; S., 119. A.S., 86. 


because he had to pay his respects to the governor 
there. 'Abd ul 'Aziz told some bishops to build two 
convents there, and he allowed Athanasius, his 
secretary, to build a church in Kasr ush Shama'. He 
built two, Jurjis and Abu Kir, within the castle and 
also one in Edessa. 1 Walid took a copper gilt dome 
from the church in Baalbek and set it over the Rock 
in Jerusalem, and removed some marble pillars from 
the Church of Mary at Antioch for the mosque in 
Damascus. He destroyed a church, as the beating of 
the nakus annoyed him. 2 'Umar II is said to have 
commanded his governors not to destroy existing 
churches, but not to suffer the building of new. 3 
Yazld 1 1 ordered the destruction of churches, but died 
before it could be done. 4 In 104 Usama b. Zaid, the 
surveyor of taxes in Egypt, attacked convents and 
destroyed churches. The caliph Hisham told him to 
let the Christians alone, according to their treaty. 5 
The patriarch Kosmas went to Hisham, and by the 
help of some learned men was granted the Melkite 
churches in Egypt, which the Jacobites had seized. 
Hisham wrote to the governor to take these churches 
and give them to Kosmas. 6 Hisham wanted to build 
a mosque in Ramleh, and was told that the Chris- 
tians had some marble pillars hidden in the sand 
ready for building a church. He told them to hand 
over those pillars, threatening to pull down the 
church at Lydda and use the columns from it for 
his mosque. The pillars were produced. 7 

Further east also the subject peoples were treated 

1 A.S., 157 ; Eut., 2, 369 f. ; Lang., 247. 

1 But., 2, 372 ; Mas,, 3, 408 ; 5, 381. T., II, 1371 f. 4 S., 144. 

M., 2, 492 f. fl Eut., 2, 386. T Muk., 165. 


equally generously. In the treaty with Adhetbaijan 
the Arabs agreed not to kill or take prisoner any- 
one, not to destroy any fire temple, not to oppress 
the Kurds, especially not to prevent the people of 
Shiz from dancing at their feasts and doing in public 
what they were wont to do. 1 In the fourth century 
there were still so many fire temples * that it would 
be impossible to know them without a list '. In every 
district were many, and one is said to have cost 
thirty million dirhams. 2 That temple in the town 
of Akhurin was very holy, and people visited it from 
all parts of the country. 8 That in Medain is said to 
have an income bigger than the tribute of the pro- 
vince of Pars. 4 Kerman remained Magian through- 
out the time of the Umayyads, and turned Muslim 
only under the Abbasids. 5 When the town of Rur 
surrendered it was stipulated that the idol was not 
to be injured. The Arab commander said that the 
idol was in the same position as the churches of the 
Christians and the fire temples of the Magians. 6 
The general's opinion became so common that Abu 
Yusuf, writing during the reign of Rashld, elevates 
it into a principle, and says that tribute was taken 
from polytheists. But Mamun did not recognize it 
when he compelled the pagans of Harran to choose 
between Islam and death. 7 When Afshln was brought 
to trial he was faced with two men whom he had 
flogged. He defended himself in these words : ' I 
inflicted on each of them a thousand stripes because 
I had covenanted with the princes of Sughd that I 
would leave all men unmolested in the religion which 

1 B., 236. I.H., 189. ' I.R., 165. * I.R., 186. I.H., 221. 
B., 439. 7 Kh M 75 ; Fih., 320. 


they professed, and these two fell upon a temple 
wherein were idols worshipped by the people of 
Ushrusna, cast them forth, and made the place into a 
mos<!Jiie. Wherefor I punished each of them with a 
thousand stripes, because they had acted aggressive- 
ly and hindered the people in their worship.' 1 

The Arabs did not always take their treaty obliga- 
tions seriously. Abdulla b. Kulaib is celebrated as 
the first man who struck his sword on the gate of 
Constantinople and gave the call to prayer in the 
empire. The emperor made known his desire to 
have him killed. Abdulla said, ' If you kill me, not 
a church will be left in the lands of Islam undestroy- 
ed.' 2 This may have been an empty boast. 

It was not unknown that Muslims and Christians 
met on peaceful terms in a church. Mas'udi relates 
that he discussed the Trinity with a Christian, named 
Abu Zakaria, in the Green Church at Baghdad. 8 It 
was forbidden to whitewash fire temples lest they 
should look like mosques. 4 

During the conquest of Spain the Muslims were 
much less tolerant. On one of his expeditions 
Musa destroyed every church and broke every bell. 5 
When Marida surrendered the Muslims took the 
property of those killed in the ambush, of those who 
fled to Galicia, of the churches, and the church 
jewels. 6 

Khalid ul Kasri (after 105) built a church for his 
mother behind the south-west wall of the mosque in 
Kufa. They beat the nakus when the call to prayer 
was given, and their loud chanting drowned the 

1 T., Ill, 1309. * I.R., 193. s Mas.T., 155. * Ghazi, 394. 
8 Mak., 1, 174. Mak., 1, 171. 


voice of the imam. 1 About this time, or rather earlier, 
Damisius, of Asfant, in Egypt, built a great monas- 
tery in the mountains. 2 About 117 Walld b. Rifa'a, 
the governor of Egypt, allowed the church ofr'Abu 
Mlna, in Hamra, to be built (restored). ' This was 
after the conflict with the Arabs, when the Christians 
complained to the governor that their women and 
children were not safe from molestation while going 
to and returning from churches in Misr, especially 
on the nights of the forty days fast. In consequence 
of these outrages, a great number of the Arabs were 
killed.' Many Muslims complained of the building 
of this church ; one account makes it produce an 
Arab riot. 3 

About 125 'Ishoyahbh, the abbot of Beth 'Abhe, 
pulled down the monastery church and rebuilt it. 
It was a time of scarcity, and the greedy governor 
of Mosul, urged on by jealous men, fined the monas- 
tery fifteen thousand dirhams. 4 About the same time, 
one Hujair, a believer of noble family, built a monas- 
tery, which he named Hujairabad. The metropolitan 
refused to consecrate it. 6 In Egypt, Abu 1 Jarrah 
Bishr b. Aus plundered the monastery of Mart 
Mariam,near Bilbes, but afterwards restored to it all 
he had taken away. 8 The caliph Marwan plundered 
and destroyed many monasteries in Egypt, as he. fled 
before the Abbasid troops. 7 He destroyed all the 
churches in Tana except one, and he asked three 
thousand dinars as the price for sparing that. As 
the rich men of the town could only collect two 

1 Agh., 19, 59 ; I.Khall., 1, 212. a S., 147. 

8 A.S., 103 ; K., 77 ; M., 2, 493, 1, 303. 4 Thomas, 1, 206. 

Thomas, 2, 282. S., 158. T S., 181, 185. 


thousand, he turned one-third of it into a mosque. 1 
Some merchants begged him to give back to the 
Melkites the church of Abu Mina, in Mareotis. The 
result was a riot in the governor's palace. 2 

In 141 the altar and apse of the great church in 
Nisibis were completed. 3 In 146 Mansur ordered 
Yazid b. Hatim to install the government offices in 
the churches in the castle in Fustat. 4 In the reign 
of Mahdi, or perhaps a little later, the convent of 
the Greeks in Baghdad was built. 5 Harun Rashid, 
soon after his accession, told 'AH b. Sulaiman, the 
governor of Egypt, to destroy the newly-built 
churches. He pulled down that of Mary, beside 
the church of Abu Shenuda, and those of the Guard- 
house of Constantine. He was offered fifty thousand 
dinars to spare them, but refused. Makrlzi says that 
these churches were destroyed about twenty years 
before, after a revolt of Copts in Sakha. 6 In the 
reign of Harun, Musa b. 'Isa allowed the Christians 
to rebuild the churches which 'Ali b. Sulaiman had 
destroyed. This was done on the advice of Laith b. 
Sa'd and Abdulla b. Lahl'a, who said that they were 
national buildings. They argued that all the 
churches in Egypt had been built under Islam in 
the days of the Companions and Followers. Makrlzi 
calls Abdulla kadi of Misr. The arguments of these 
two do more credit to their hearts than their 
heads. 7 

The convent of Samalu was built in Baghdad 
about this time. 8 Harun helped the Melkites to 

1 A.S., 222. a S., 167. ' Elias, 128. 4 K., 115. 

Y., 2, 662. K., 131 ; M., 2, 493. T K., 132 ; M., 2,493. 

Y., 2, 670. 


recover some churches which the Copts had seized. 1 
In 191 he destroyed some in al 'Awasim, the frontier 
province, and used the material of two of them to 
build the town of Hadath. 2 His action herymay 
have been due to the fact that the Christians of the 
province were helping the Greeks. Bishop Anania 
built a monastery on the site of a ruined castle, 
which he bought from the Arabs. 3 

About the year 198 Ibrahim of Kuraish, the prefect 
of Harran, was walking in his lofty palace and saw 
some new buildings. He asked his cup-bearers what 
these new white buildings were. They said, * New 
churches, which the Christians have built in your 
time; wherefor many of the Arabs are vexed that 
you should have allowed them to build what had 
not been built before.' He ordered every new church 
to be pulled down before the sun set. At once they 
destroyed the altar of the Catholic Church and that 
of the Theotokos, part of that of Mar George, and 
others of the Chalcedonians and Nestorians, and 
synagogues of the Jews. When morning dawned 
God had changed his mind, and he permitted what 
had been destroyed to be restored gradually. They 
were quickly rebuilt. 4 

During the fighting between Amm and Mamun 
many monasteries in the Wadi Hablb (Wadi Natrun) 
were destroyed, but were rebuilt a few years later. 5 
Some chamberlains of Mamun restored the church 
of the Virgin at al Kantara, and two servants 
(farrasti) obtained permission to build one on Mount 
Mukattam, because those in the castle were too far 

1 But, 2, 410 ; M., 2, 493. 2 T., Ill, 712 ; Lang., 263. 

Lang., 266. 4 S.A., 2, 10 ; B.H., 139. B M., 2, 492 f. 


away. 1 In this reign Bukam, a wealthy Christian of 
Bura, built many beautiful churches in his native 
town. 2 

If "She Kitab ul Umm represents the opinions of 
Shafe'i, and not those of his disciples, by the year 
200 it was recognized that churches might not be 
built in towns where Muslims lived, though in 
places where there were none Christians could build 
churches as they pleased and celebrate their festivals. 3 

The Muslims were not always as tactful as they 
might have been. It is recorded that one of 
them shut up his dog for the night in the outer 
martyrium, close by the church. 4 

Arabs gathered from Harran, Edessa and Samo- 
sata, to ask ' Abdulla b. Tahir to destroy the churches 
which had been built during the last ten years or so. 
He refused, saying, * The poor Christians have not re- 
built one-tenth of the churches which have been 
ruined and burnt' In his days, adds the chronicler, 
the Christians enjoyed peace and prosperity. 5 
Muhammad, the brother of 'Abdulla, gave orders to 
destroy the churches in Beth Nahrain. Dionysius, 
the patriarch, and his brother Theodosius, metro- 
politan of Edessa, went down to Egypt to 'Abdulla, 
and brought back orders to stop this persecution. 6 
When 'Abdulla (the text has 'Ubaidulla) b. Tahir 
returned from Egypt, on his way to Baghdad, the 
Muslims of Jerusalem complained that the Chris- 
tians had transgressed and done what was not lawful 
for them. They had pulled down the dome of the 
Church of the Resurrection, and enlarged it so that 

1 A.S., 154 ; Eut., 2, 430. But., 2, 434. Umm, 4, 126. 
4 Thomas, 1, 229. 5 S.A., 2, 16. e S.A., 2, 21, 271. 



it was higher than the Dome of the Rock. 'Abdulla 
put the patriarch Thomas and some of his com- 
panions in prison, to enquire into this matter. Had 
the complaint been true he would have had'them 
flogged. A Muslim came to them in prison by 
night, and said to Thomas, ' If I tell you an argu- 
ment that will save you, your companions, and the 
dome, will you pay me, and my children after me, 
a thousand dinars yearly from the revenues of the 
church ? ' The patriarch gave the promise in 
writing, and the Muslim said, * Ask the com- 
plainants to tell the height of the old dome and of 
the new.' They could not do this, so Thomas and 
his friends were released. 1 About this time a 
church was built in Jerusalem for visitors from 
Egypt. 2 

In 239 Mutawakkil ordered all new churches to 
be destroyed. 3 From this survey certain facts are 
clear. At first churches were built freely, some- 
times with the approval or even the help of author- 
ity. 'Umar II is said to have forbidden the building 
of churches. As only one historian records this, and 
the Christian records are silent, it may not be true. 
Apart from this solitary notice, it is not till 150 or 
170 that there is the least suggestion of a ban on 
new churches, and this idea was slow in finding 
general recognition. Mutawakkil was the first to 
make this ban law. On the other hand, from an 
early date churches were always liable to be 
destroyed for some caprice of the ruler. In times of 
political upheaval the danger was of course greater. 
Usually much, if not everything, depended on the 

1 But., 2, 455. a M., 2, 494. 8 T., Ill, 1419. 


character of the ruler, were he governor or caliph. 
One thing is certain, the first century of Islam 
kne^ nothing about the covenant of 'Umar. 

In * the second century the idea began to take 
shape that all places of worship had been built 
under Islam. Later this became the general view. 

The law of Mutawakkil was not the end of the 
story: sometimes it was enforced and sometimes 
not. Sometimes the mob took the law into its own 
hands. It is enough to make a list of riots in which 
religious buildings were destroyed. 

In 271 or 272 the convent of Kalilishu, in Bagh- 
dad, was destroyed, the gold and silver vessels 
stolen, and all wood in the building sold. 1 The last 
item is explained by the scarcity of wood in Meso- 

In 312 the church and convent of Mary, in Damas- 
cus, were burnt and plundered, and other churches 
wrecked, 2 A little later two Melkite churches in 
Ramleh, Kosmas and Cyriac, and others in Ascalon 
and Caesarea, were destroyed. Complaint was made 
to Muktadir, who gave orders to repair the damage. 
In 321 the church outside the fort at Tinnis was 
destroyed. Then the Christians rebuilt the church 
in the town, but when it was nearly finished the 
Muslims burnt and destroyed it. The sultan helped 
in rebuilding it. 8 In 325 the eastern gates and 
half the cloister of the Church of the Resurrection, 
in Jerusalem, were burnt and the church sacked/ 
A year or two later the Muslims, helped by the 
Jews, sacked and burnt the Church of the Dark 

1 Elias, 68 ; T., Ill, 2107. a M., 2, 494. 8 But., 2, 513. 

4 Eut., 2, 529 ; M., 2, 495. 


Madonna, in Ascalon. The bishop fled to Ramleh 
and died there. 1 In 355 the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre was burnt. Kafur wrote to the emperor, 
who was invading Syria, that he might restore it. 2 
In 392, during an anti-Christian riot in Baghdad, 
houses were plundered and churches attacked. A 
Jacobite church was set on fire, and it fell on a 
crowd of Muslims, killing men, women and children. 3 
Many churches were ruined during the invasion of 
of Egypt by Asad ud Dm Shirkuh ; 4 but this is not 
surprising, for one object of the invasion was to 
overthrow the Fatimid heresy, and passions had 
been further inflamed by the presence of the Franks 
in Egypt. In his book on the churches of Egypt, 
Abu Salih often refers to the destruction of churches 
and monasteries. 

The behaviour of the government varied. In 240 
the inhabitants of Hims, with the help of the 
Christians, started a riot against the governor. So 
Mutawakkil ordered the Christians to be expelled 
from the town and their churches destroyed. One, 
that adjoined the mosque, was incorporated into 
it. In the circumstances, these drastic measures 
seem natural. 5 Eutychius laments that in his day 
the Muslims met in the church at Bethlehem for 
prayers, and had removed the mosaics and put up 
their own inscriptions. They also met for prayers 
on the steps of the Church of Constantine, all 
contrary to the treaty of 'Umar. 6 When building 
that quarter of Cairo known as Katai', Ahmad b. 
Tulun ploughed up Jewish and Christian ceme- 

1 M, 2, 495. a Eel., 2, 221 n. 8 Ed., 3, 418 ; B.H., 203. 
E.g. A.S., 91, 250. T., Ill, 1423 ; B., 134. But., 2, 290. 


teries. 1 In 328 the ruler of Egypt sent an officer 
to seal the doors of the Melkite churches in Tinnls, 
and bring the sacramental vessels to Fustat. The 
patrhirch redeemed them for five thousand dinars, 
and to get the money sold the church estates. 2 In 
350 the Church of Mar Behnam, in Tripoli, of Syria, 
was built. 3 In 369 the vizier Nasr b. Harun was 
given permission to build churches and monas- 
teries. 4 

Sometimes the authorities made a show of 
observing legal forms. Al Kindi has preserved an 
account of one such episode; here it is. 'It 
happened that one side of the Church of Abu 
Shenuda fell, and the Christians offered much 
money to be allowed to restore it. Lawyers' 
opinion was asked. Ibn Haddad said that it should 
be destroyed, and the school of Malik agreed with 
him, but Muhammad b. 'AH said that it might be 
restored and rebuilt. The crowd raised a tumult 
against him, and wanted to burn his house, so he 
hid himself. The mob surrounded the church. 
When the governor heard of it he was angry, and 
sent his chief retainers with many men ; the crowd, 
however, stoned them. The governor was informed, 
so he sent Ibn Haddad with the command, "Ride 
to the church ; if it still stands, let it be ; if it is in 
ruins, pull it down ". He came with 'Ali b. 'Abdulla 
b. Nuwas, the engineer, and met a dense crowd. He 
spoke kindly and pleasantly to them, told them that 
he was on their side, till they cleared the road and 
he could enter the church. He drove out all the 
Christians, shut the doors, and gave the engineer a 

1 M., 1, 315. a M., 2, 495. ' B.H., 184. 4 Eel., 2, 408. 


candle. He went into the sanctuary 1 and examined 
it, and gave his report. " It will last fifteen years, and 
then part will fall ; it will then last forty, and all 
will fall/' So it was left and not rebuilt. In 3t>6 it 
was rebuilt.* 2 

The caliph al 'Aziz gave orders that the Church 
of Mercurius should be restored to the patriarch. 
The common people attacked the patriarch and 
hindered him from rebuilding it. Al 'Aziz offered 
money for the work, which was refused, but a guard 
for the workmen was accepted. 3 

Al Hakim biamr illah gave orders that the 
churches in his dominions should be destroyed. 
Their contents were seized and the vessels of gold 
and silver sold in the markets. In the church of the 
Mu'allaka was a great store of goldsmith's work 
and fine cloth. Muslim prayers were said in Abu 
Shenuda. The church lands were confiscated, and 
every one who asked for some got it. A Muslim 
historian reports that over thirty thousand churches, 
which had been built by the Greeks, were destroyed 
in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Bar Hebraeus is 
more modest, he only says thousands. Among them 
was the Church of the Resurrection, at Jerusalem; 
it was destroyed ' to the roots ', and everything in it 
stolen. The chief damage was done between 403 
and 405, though one account puts the Jerusalem 
trouble in 400. When the monastery of Kusair, in 
Egypt, was destroyed, in 400, the common people 
stole the timbers from the ruins, and even the coffins 
of the dead. Al Hakim changed his mind before his 

1 Madbah usually means ' altar ', but here ' sanctuary '. 
* K., 554. * A.S., 117. 


death, and suffered the Christians to rebuild their 
places of worship. They did so, and made them finer 
than before. Another account says that they were 
shut^for nine years. 1 

In 418 the caliph az Zahir allowed the Church of 
the Resurrection to be restored, in return for the 
restoration of a mosque in Constantinople. 2 In 439 
the patriarch built the Church of Bu Markura, in 
Cairo, and that of Our Lady in the quarter of the 
Greeks. 3 In the reign of Mustansir (427-487), during 
disturbances in Upper Egypt, the monks of a monas- 
tery near Ushmunain were killed. 4 In the same 
reign the Church of George, in Hamra, was restored. 
It was destroyed when the Kurds entered Egypt, 
and restored in the following year along with others. 
The mob was annoyed, sacked and wrecked it. The 
property was given back and it was consecrated 
afresh. 5 The caliphs Hafiz, Zafir, and 'Adid contri- 
buted to the support of the Church of al Martuti. 6 

Al Bustan was allotted as a fief to the canon 
lawyer Baha ud Dm *Ali, who set apart for the 
Armenians the Church of John the Baptist in the 
Zuwaila quarter; here the patriarch dwelt in 564. 
By a decree of the sultan, the Copts took possession 
of this church. Then certain Christians allowed 
their servants to beat the Muslim guardians of it. 
These complained to Baha ud Dm 'Ali. He told the 
sultan, who took back the decree empowering the 
Copts to hold the church. Not long after, in 573, he 
issued a fresh decree restoring it to them. 7 

1 B.H., 204 f . ; M., 2, 287, 494 ; Ath., y. 398 ; A,S., 142, 147 ; A.M., II, 
2,65; Husn, 2, 168. 

3 M., 1, 355. M., 2, 496. 4 A.S., 252. 8 A.S., 91. 

8 A.S., 140. T A.S., 3-11. 


Benjamin of Tudela found a synagogue in Kufa; 1 
so the opinion of Ibn 'Abbas was not followed in 
practical life. 

In 573 there was trouble in Medain. The mofeque 
was close to a synagogue, and the Jews were disturb- 
ed by the frequent calls to prayer. The muedhdhin 
paid no attention to their complaint, so there was a 
quarrel and the Jews got the better of it. The 
Muslims came to Baghdad with a petition, but Ibn 
ul 'Attar, the controller of stores, put them in gaol. 
They were let out, and came to the castle mosque 
before the Friday prayers, to ask for aid. The prayers 
were cut short and they again asked for help. Some 
soldiers tried to stop them, but the populace took 
their part, grew angry and very abusive in defence 
of Islam, tore bricks out of the wall, and stoned 
the soldiers till they ran away. The mob then 
rushed to the shops of the money changers, 2 most 
of whom were Jews, and pillaged them. The keeper 
of the gate tried to stop them, so they stoned him 
and he ran away. The city was disturbed, and the 
synagogue by the Basasiri gate was destroyed and 
the book of the Law burnt The caliph ordered the 
synagogue at Medain to be turned into a mosque. 3 

When Nur ud Dm Zanji conquered Mosul he 
ordered all new churches and buildings to be 
destroyed, so two churches, one Nestorian and one 
Jacobite, were pulled down. 4 Apparently they were 
quickly rebuilt. About this time some Kurds cap- 
tured the monastery of Mar Mattai, in the land of 
Nineveh, seized all the valuables, and killed fifteen 

1 Benj., 64. * Mukhli^ or ntukhalli^ meaning unknown. 
Ath., y. 573. * S.A., 2, 166, 168. 


monks; they also took that of Mar Sergius, in 
which Moses bar Kefa had been a pupil. 1 And in 
Edessa the great Church of Hagia Sophia (?) was 
destroyed to its foundations, and the stones taken 
away to build a mosque in Harran and the castle in 
Edessa, The west wall of the Church of the Apostles 
fell, so the whole was pulled down, as well as those 
of the Forty Martyrs, near the mosque, and Mar 
Stephen. 2 At the capture of Jerusalem all the 
churches, except that of the Resurrection, were 
stripped of the iron, wood, doors, and marble 
on the walls and floors. Every Christian who 
entered the church to worship at the Holy Grave 
had to pay ten dinars to the Muslim guards. 3 But 
Najm ud Dm, the lord of Mardln, was favourable to 
the Christians, their churches, and monasteries, and 
was more concerned than they themselves with 
building churches in his land. Regularly he visited 
the monasteries, and liked to drink and stay there. 4 
And when Kilij Arslan captured the town of 
Kaisum (c. 568) he abolished the gold tax on the 
monastery of Mar Barsuma. 5 

When the Mongols conquered Damascus, in 658, 
Hulagu protected the Christians. They drank wine 
in public in Ramadan, poured it on the clothes of 
Muslims, and on the doors of mosques. When they 
carried the cross in procession they made the shop- 
keepers stand up, and ill-treated those who refused to 
do so. They preached sermons in praise of their 
faith, exclaiming, c The faith of the Messiah triumphs 
to-day.' If the Muslims complained they were beaten. 

* S.A., 2, 168. S.A., 2, 170. * S.A., 2, 201 ; M., 2, 234. 

* S.A., 2, 182. ' S.A., 2, 187. 


The governor loaded the priests with honours. 
When the Mongols were driven out the Muslims 
plundered the houses of the Christians and destroy- 
ed all they could. They ruined two churches, 
slaughtered many Christians, and enslaved others. 
Thus they avenged themselves on those who had 
destroyed their mosques. Not content with this, 
they pillaged the houses of the Jews and reduced 
their shops to mounds of rubbish. 1 When the 
Mongols captured Aleppo, the synagogue was one 
of the houses where the inhabitants escaped 
massacre. 2 In 661 the church at Nazareth was 
destroyed. 3 In 669 the sultan of Egypt captured 
Antioch and burnt the churches. 4 

In 700 an attempt was made, prompted by the 
visitor from the west who is mentioned in the 
chapter on dress, 5 to destroy all the churches in 
Egypt, but it was foiled by the chief kadi, TakI ud 
Dm Muhammad, who ruled that only the new 
ones might be pulled down. All were closed to 
worship for a time, and then some prominent 
Christians managed to have one reopened. This 
caused a riot. Three years later the king of Barcelona 
sent an extra big present to the Muslim lords and the 
sultan, to persuade them to let the churches be 
opened, but actually only two were opened. 6 In 718 
the Christians asked permission of Muhammad b. 
Kalawun to restore the Church of Barbara, and made 
a very fine building of it. Some Muslims were 
vexed at this, and complained to the sultan that they 
had put up a new building beside the church. He 

1 Q., 1,S8, 106. Abu 1 Fida., y. 658. 8 Abu 1 Fida., y. 661. 
4 B.H. Mu., 500. * See below, p. 122. fl M., 2, 499. 


ordered the governor of Cairo to have this new 
edifice destroyed. Thereupon the mob destroyed 
the church and built a mihrab there. The Christians 
appealed to the kadi, Karlm ud Dm ; he was angry 
and, being zealous for the faith of his forefathers, 
importuned the sultan till he had the mihrab pulled 
down. The place remained a rubbish heap. 1 In 721 
there was a general attack on the Egyptian 
churches. The story in Makrlzi is so long that it 
had better be given separately. In 755 a survey of 
church lands was taken ; the cause of it being the 
proud bearing of the Christians. A general perse- 
cution broke out, and several churches in and near 
Cairo were wrecked and their contents stolen, all 
woodwork being taken away. 2 In 780 the Church of 
George, in Gizeh, and in 800 that of Mark, in the 
same place, were destroyed and then rebuilt. 3 

The information that the two churches in Khindik 
were built as substitutes for those in Maks shows 
that the rule forbidding the erection of new churches 
had been extended. 4 Whatever the mob might do, 
the government only set its face against newly-built 
churches. Makrlzi names several as having been 
built under Islam, and says, ' No one denies that all 
the synagogues of Cairo which we have named were 
built under Muslim rule.' 5 He makes no attempt to 
reconcile this with the covenant of 'Umar, which he 

By 860, dhimmis had to get permission for any 
repairs they wished to make in places of worship. 
The head of a church was flogged, paraded, and put 

1 M., 2, 511. M., 2, 499 f. , 8 M., 2, 517. 

4 M., 2,511. ' M.,2, 472. 


in prison for a few days, because he had made more 
extensive repairs than his permit allowed. 1 


Muslim authors sometimes have a word of praise 
for Christian buildings. Thus Mas'udi says that the 
church at Hims was one of the wonders of the world, 
and in the next sentence he calls the cathedral at 
Edessa one of the four wonders of the world. 2 

Ibn Rusteh quotes a saying, attributed to the 
Greeks though he does not agree with it that 
there is no finer stone building than the cathedral 
of Edessa, no finer wooden than the church at 
Manbij, and no finer marble than the church of 
Kusyan at Antioch. It is said also that the church 
at Hims is the finest stone building. 3 Nasir i Khusrau 
describes a church where the latticed iron door of 
the sanctuary was the most beautiful he had ever 
seen. 4 

1 Gottheil, 400. 2 Mas.T., 144. 8 I.R., 83. 4 Sefernameh, 9. 


WHEN the king Muhammad b. Kalawun laid out 
the parade ground of the Mahara (mahra, camels), 
which is near the Arches of the Wild Beasts, in 
720, he proposed to build a shooting lodge on the 
main stream of the Nile, near the mosque of Tabarsi. 
So he gave orders to remove a mound of earth 
there, and dig out the clay underneath, to build the 
lodge, and brought water to the site of the digging, 
so that it became the Pool of Nasir. They began to 
dig out this pool at the end of Rabi' I, 721. When 
the digging reached the side of the church of Zuhri 
many Christians were in it, and near it were 
several churches, in the place known as the section 
of Akbagha, between the Seven Conduits and the 
bridge of the dam outside Misr the diggers began 
to dig round the church of Zuhri, till it was left in 
the middle of the site where the sultan had com- 
manded them to dig, which is now the Pool of Nasir. 
The digging went on till the church was isolated. 
Now their object was that it might fall and yet 
there be no apparent intent to destroy it. Most of 
the servants of the emirs, and the others working 
with them, cried out that it should be destroyed, but 
the emirs paid no attention to them till the 19th of 
Rabr II, a Friday, when all were at prayer and the 
work of digging had ceased. A crowd of roughs 
gathered, without any orders from the sultan, and 


began to cry, ' God is most great ', and to use their 
picks on the church of Zuhri. They reduced it to a 
heap of rubbish, killed the Christians in it, and stole 
all that was in it. They then destroyed the church 
of Bu Mina, in Hamra, which had been highly 
honoured by the Christians from of old. In it were 
several Christians who had devoted themselves. 
The Christians of Misr brought to it whatever was 
needed, and paid to it rich vows and many offer- 
ings. Great wealth was found in it, coin, plate, 
and other things. The mob went to the upper end, 
opened the doors, and took from it money, cloth, 
and jars of wine. It was terrible ! After destroying 
it they went to two churches near the Seven Con- 
duits. One was called the Church of the Daughters, 
for the daughters of Christians, and a number of 
monks lived there. They broke open the doors of 
the two churches, made the nuns prisoners there 
were more than sixty of them stole the clothes 
they wore, seized all they could lay hands on, and 
burnt and demolished these churches. This was 
while the Friday prayers were being said. When 
men came out of the mosques they found a state 
of terror, due to the thick dust, the smoke of the 
conflagration, and the confused and hasty move- 
ments of the mob, who were laden with their plunder. 
It was felt that the horror could only be compared 
to the day of judgment. The news spread, and 
was carried to Rumaila, below the citadel. The 
sultan heard a great noise and an unwonted tumult, 
which frightened him. He sent to enquire, and 
when he heard what had happened he was greatly 
troubled and angered at the impudence of the mob 


in doing such things without an order from him. 
He ordered the emir Idghamash to ride, with a 
detachment of troops, to the centre of disturbance 
and lay hands on the malefactors. Idghamash was 
ready to start, when news came that a mob was 
rioting in Cairo and had destroyed a church in the 
quarter of the Greeks, and another in the Zuwaila 
quarter. News came that a great mob had risen in 
Misr and attacked the Church of Mu'allaka, in the 
castle of Shama'. The Christians had shut them- 
selves inside it, were besieged, and it was on the 
point of being taken. The sultan grew more angry, 
prepared to ride out himself and attack the mob, but 
he waited when the emir Idghamash dissuaded 
him. With four emirs Idghamash went from the 
citadel down to Misr ; the emirs Baibars and Almas, 
the chamberlains, rode to the excavation ; and the 
emir Tmal to Cairo, all with sufficient troops. 
The sultan had given orders to put to death any 
of the mob they took, without sparing any. All 
Cairo and Misr were on foot, and the plunderers 
fled, so the emirs could only seize those who were 
too drunk with wine stolen from the churches to 
walk. When Idghamash reached Misr, the governor 
of the town had already marched to the Church of 
Mu'allaka, to drive the would-be thieves from the 
lane of that name, but he was received with 
showers of stones, and ran away. They were about 
to set fire to the doors of the church, so Idghamash 
and his followers drew their swords to attack them. 
The crowd was too big to be counted. He feared 
disaster, and held back from a fight. He told his 
retainers to drive away the mob without shedding 


blood. He made a proclamation, * Whoever stands 
his ground may be killed', so the mob scattered and 
fled. Idghamash stayed there till the afternoon 
prayer, as he feared the return of the mob. Then 
he went away, but he made the governor of Misr 
stay there with his police, and left fifty soldiers with 
him. The emir Almas went to the churches of 
Hamra and Zuhri to protect them, but found them 
heaps of rubbish, with not a wall standing. He and 
the emirs returned and reported to the sultan, who 
was more angry than before. They stopped with 
him till his rage abated. 

Now the destruction of the churches was very 
extraordinary. The congregation was at prayers 
that Friday in the mosque in the citadel, and when 
they had finished a gloomy man stood up and cried 
from the middle of the mosque, * Destroy the church 
in the citadel; destroy it/ and went on with his 
alarming cry till he passed all bounds and fell 
exhausted. The sultan and the emirs marvelled at 
his words, so the sultan ordered the head of the 
army and the chamberlain to look into it. They 
went from the mosque to the ruins of the Tartars, in 
the citadel, and found a church built there. They 
destroyed it, and had hardly finished when news 
came of what had happened to the churches in 
Hamra and Cairo. The sultan marvelled at the 
fakir, sought for him, but could learn nothing 
about him. 

In the mosque of al Azhar also, on the same day 
when the congregation was met for the Friday 
prayers, a sort of shivering seized a fakir, and he stood 
up, after the call to prayer and before the preacher 


came forth, and said, ' Destroy the churches of the 
wicked and the infidels ; yes, God is most great, 
God is victorious and conquering/ He threw him- 
self about from one side to the other, crying out. 
Men looked sharply at him, did not know what to 
think, and were divided in opinion. Some said 
that he was mad, others that he was a sign of 
something. When the preacher appeared he 
ceased shouting, and when they looked for him 
after the prayers they could not find him. Then 
they went to the gate of the mosque, and saw the 
plunderers, with wood from the churches, clothes of 
the Christians, and other booty. They asked what 
was the matter, and were told that the sultan had 
ordered the demolition of the churches. At first 
they thought this was correct, but later it was evi- 
dent that it had been done without the sultan's 

One church in the quarter of the Greeks, one in the 
Bundukani district, and two in Zuwaila were des- 
troyed that day in Cairo. On the following Sunday 
came a report from Badr ud Din Bailabak, the 
governor of Alexandria, that on the same Friday 
after prayers there had been a disturbance. When 
they went out of the mosque the cry was raised, 
'The churches have been destroyed. 1 The officer 
rode off immediately, and found that four churches 
had been laid in ruins. A report had come from 
the governor of Buhaira, that two churches in Dam- 
anhur had been destroyed while the people were at 
the Friday prayers. The wonder grew till, on 
Friday 16, this report came from the town of Kus. 
On Friday 9, when the people had finished the 


prayers, a fakir stood up and said, * O fakirs, come 
out to destroy the churches/ He went out with a 
crowd, and found that the destruction of the churches 
had already begun. Six were destroyed in Kus and 
the neighbourhood at one time. Reports continued 
to come in from the north and the south of churches 
and monasteries destroyed during the Friday 
prayers throughout the whole of Egypt, between 
Kus, Alexandria, and Damietta. The rage of the 
sultan against the mob grew hotter, for he feared 
for his kingdom. The emirs tried to moderate his 
anger, and said, * It was not in the power of man to 
do this. Had the sultan wished to do this, he could 
not have done it. It happened by God's will and 
disposition, for He knew the corruption of the 
Christians and the increase of their wickedness, as 
vengeance on them and punishment for them/ 
Now the mob in Cairo and Misr were sore afraid of 
the sultan when they learnt of his threat to kill 
them, and many of the scoundrels and roughs fled. 
The kadi Fakhr ud Din, the inspector of the army, 
tried to dissuade the sultan from going to extremes 
against the mob, and succeeded. Karlm ud Din, the 
controller of the household, provoked him against 
them, till the sultan sent him to Alexandria to get 
money and to examine the churches which had been 
destroyed. Hardly a month passed when several 
fires broke out in Cairo and Misr, and the damage 
was many times greater than that caused by the 
destruction of the churches. Fire broke out in the 
quarter of the Cooks, in Cairo, on Saturday, 11 
Jumada I, spread at night, and burnt till the end of 
Sunday. Much damage was done, and when it was 


put out another fire broke out in the quarter of 
Dailam, in the alley of the Bride, near the house of 
Karim ud Dm, the controller of the household, on IS 
Jumada I. A high wind was blowing that night, so 
the fire spread on all sides till it reached the house 
of Karim ud Din. When the sultan heard this he 
was troubled exceedingly, for the royal storehouses 
were there, and sent a number of emirs to put it 
out. They collected a great crowd of workers, but 
the danger had grown from the night of Monday to 
the night of Tuesday, the fire was blazing more 
furiously, and the emirs and the workers were un- 
able to put it out because it was so widespread, and 
the wind was so strong that it blew down palms and 
sank boats. Every one believed that the whole of 
Cairo would be burnt. They climbed the minarets ,* 
poor and rich alike hastened to shriek out prayers 
and praises and lamentations. Men cried and wept 
everywhere. The sultan ascended to the top of the 
citadel, but could not stand because the wind was so 
strong. The burning went on, and the sultan's ex- 
hortations to the emirs to quench it, till Wednesday. 
The deputy of the sultan came down with all the 
emirs, and the rest of the water carriers, and also 
the emir Biktamir, the cupbearer. It was a terrible 
day ; none had ever seen a more terrible or more 
horrible. Men were stationed at the gates of 
Cairo, to turn back the water carriers if they tried 
to leave the city. Every one of the water carriers 
of the emirs and the town was busy, bringing 
water from the schools and baths. All carpen- 
ters and masons began to demolish houses. Many 
great houses and blocks were destroyed. Twenty- 


four of the prominent emirs, besides emirs of the 
drum room, emirs of ten, and mamelukes, laboured 
at the fire, working with their own hands. The 
street, from the gate of Zuwaila to the quarter of 
Dailam, was like a river, from the number of men 
and camels carrying water. The emir Biktamir 
and Arghiin the deputy superintended the removal 
of the stores from the house of Karlm ud Dm to 
that of his son, in the street Rusasi. They pulled 
down sixteen houses near and opposite to it, till 
they could move the stores. As soon as they had 
removed them and put out the fire another broke 
out in the block of Zahir, outside the gate of 
Zuwaila, which consisted of one hundred and twenty 
houses, with a portico underneath called the Portico 
of the Poor. A strong wind blew. The chamberlain 
and the governor rode to put it out, and pulled down 
several houses round it till it died out. The next 
day there was a fire in the house of the emir Salar, 
in * between the two palaces*. It began in the 
ventilator, which was one hundred cubits above the 
ground, and was only put out after great exertions. 
The sultan ordered the emir 'Alam ud Din 
Sinjar, the treasurer and governor of Cairo, and 
Rukn ud Din Baibars to be watchful and vigilant. 
Orders were issued to put a jar of water, or a great 
pot filled with water, beside every shop, and this 
was to be done in every quarter, lane, and street. 
The price of the jars rose from one dirham to five, 
and that of the pots to eight. Fires broke out in the 
quarter of the Greeks and in many places, so that 
there was no day without a fire in some place. Men 
pondered on what was happening and thought that it 


was the work of the Christians, for fire had been 
seen in the pulpits and woodwork of the mosques 
and schools which had been prepared for burning. 
The^ investigated, and found that the fire came from 
naphtha, rolled in rags soaked in oil and pitch. 

On the night of 16 Jumada two monks were taken, 
as they came out of the Kaharia school after the 
second evening prayer ; a fire had been started in 
"the school and the smell of sulphur was on their 
hands. They were taken to 'Alam ud Dm, the 
treasurer and governor of Cairo, who informed the 
sultan. He ordered them to be tortured. Scarcely 
had he come down from the citadel than the crowd 
seized a Christian, who was found in the mosque of 
Zahir, carrying a bundle like a loaf with pitch and 
naphtha inside it. He had thrown one like it beside 
the pulpit, waited till smoke began to rise, and then 
went away to leave the mosque. Someone suspected 
him, watched him unobserved, and seized him. A 
crowd gathered, and dragged him to the governor's 
house. He was disguised as a Muslim. He was 
tortured in the presence of Rukn ud Din Baibars, 
and confessed that a band of Christians had united 
to prepare naphtha and to distribute it among their 
servants. Some had been given to him, with the 
order to put it beside the pulpit in the mosque of 
Zahir. Then the two monks were brought, tortured, 
and confessed that they were inmates of the monas- 
tery of the Mule, and had set on fire the places we 
have named in Cairo because they were bitter 
against the Muslims for destroying their churches, 
and that a party of Christians had united and 
gathered much money to prepare naphtha. 


Then Karlm ud Dm, the controller of the house- 
hold, arrived from Alexandria, and the sultan told 
him of the capture of the Christians. He said, ' The 
Christians have a patriarch, they depend on* him, 
and he knows all about them.' The sultan ordered 
the patriarch to be fetched to the house of Karlm 
ud Dm, to discuss the conflagrations and what the 
Christians said about their share in them. He came, 
escorted by the governor of Cairo, at night, for fear 
of the mob. When he came into the house of 
Karlm ud Din they brought before him from the 
governor's house the three Christians, who repeated 
to Karlm ud Din, in the presence of the patriarch 
and the governor, what they had confessed previously. 
The patriarch wept as he listened to them, and said, 
' These are wilful Christians who aimed at recom- 
pensing wilful Muslims for their destruction of the 
churches.' He then left with all marks of honour 
and respect, and found that Karlm ud Din had put a 
mule at the gate for him to ride, so he mounted and 
rode away. The crowd was annoyed at this and 
rose against him with one accord, and, but for the 
escort of the governor, he would have been killed. 
Next morning early Karlm ud Din started as usual 
for the citadel, but when he reached the street the 
mob yelled at him, ' Is it lawful, O kadi, to protect 
Christians, when they have burnt the houses of 
Muslims, and to let them ride on mules?' It hurt 
and wounded him to hear this. When he saw the 
sultan he affected to despise the Christians who had 
been taken, said they were foolish and ignorant. 
The sultan ordered the governor to torture them 
again, so he rode down and tortured them severely, 


till they confessed that fourteen monks from the 
monastery of the Mule had sworn to burn all the 
houses of the Muslims, that one of them prepared 
the Naphtha, that they had divided Cairo and Misr, 
and allotted eight to Cairo and six to Misr. 

The monastery of the Mule was attacked, all 
in it captured, and four of them burnt in the street 
in front of the mosque of Ahmad b. Tulun, on a 
Friday, before a great crowd of spectators. From 
then on the crowd vexed the Christians, assaulted 
them, and tore the clothes off them, till it became 
a scandal and they exceeded all bounds. The 
sultan was enraged at this and proposed to punish 
the mob. It chanced that one Saturday he rode 
down from the citadel to go to the great parade 
ground, and found the streets filled with a great 
multitude, crying out, 'God help Islam; help 
the religion of Muhammad, the son of 'Abdulla.' 
This vexed him. When he reached the parade 
ground the treasurer brought two Christians, whom 
he had caught in the act of setting fire to houses, so 
he ordered them to be burnt. They were taken 
away, a pit was dug, and they were burnt in it in 
the sight of the people. While they were burning 
the two Christians, the steward of Biktamir, the 
cupbearer, passed on his way to his master's house. 
Now he was a Christian. As soon as the mob saw 
him they threw him to the ground off his animal, 
tore all his clothes off him, and bore him away to 
throw him in the fire. He shouted the two testi- 
monies, showed himself a Muslim, and was let go. 
It happened that Karlm ud Din, in court dress, 
passed on his way from the parade ground. They 


stoned him continuously, cried out, ' How long will 
you protect the Christians and make common cause 
with them ? ' cursed him and abused him, till he was 
forced to return to the sultan on the parade grofand. 
The shouts and cries of the mob were so loud that 
the sultan heard them, and when Karim ud Dm 
came and told him what had happened he was filled 
with wrath. Now there were present the emirs 
Jamal ud Dm, the lieutenant of Kerak, Saif ud Dm, 
the Bubakri, the Khatlri, and Biktamir the cham- 
berlain, and others, so the sultan asked their advice. 
The Bubakri said, ' The mob is blind ; the best 
policy is for the chamberlain to go and ask them 
what they want, so that he may know/ The sultan 
did not approve of this, and turned from him. The 
lieutenant of Kerak said, ' The Christian secretaries 
are the cause of all this, for the people hate them. 
My opinion is that the sultan should not do any- 
thing to the mob, but should dismiss the Christians 
from the public service/ This also did not please 
him. The emir Almas, the chamberlain, said, ' Take 
with you four emirs, and put sword to the mob from 
the time it leaves the gate of the parade ground till 
it reaches the gate of Zuwaila, and smite them with 
the sword from the gate of Zuwaila to the gate of 
Nasr, so that none escape the sword/ He said to the 
governor of Cairo, ' Go to the gate of Luk and the 
River gate, lay hands on every one without excep- 
tion, and bring them up to the citadel. If you do not 
bring those who stoned my agent Karim ud Dm, by 
the life of my head I will punish you in their stead/ 
He sent with him several royal mamelukes. The 
emirs went off slowly, the order was bruited abroad, 


and neither they nor their servants and retainers 
found anybody. The news spread in Cairo, all the 
markets were shut, and an indescribable terror 
reigfred. The emirs went out, and did not find any- 
one on the whole of the road till they came to the 
gate of Nasr. At the gate of Luk, near Bulak, and 
the River gate, the governor took some sailors, 
riff-raff and others. There was a panic, and many 
departed to the west side to Gizeh. The sultan left 
the parade ground, went up to the citadel, and did 
not meet any of the mob. Arrived in the citadel, 
he summoned the governor in haste, and the sun 
had not set when he brought some two hundred of 
the mob whom he had taken. Some he set apart 
to be strangled, some he ordered to be cut asunder, 
and some to have their hands cut off. They 
all cried, * O lord ; this is not lawful ; we are 
not those who stoned.' The emir Biktamir, the 
cupbearer, and the other emirs, wept in pity for them, 
and pleaded with the sultan till he said to the 
governor, * Take some of them, put up poles from 
the gate of Zuwaila to the Horse Market, below the 
citadel, and hang them by their hands/ On the 
Sunday morning he hanged them, from the gate of 
Zuwaila to the Horse Market ; many of them were 
well dressed and respectable. The emirs went by 
grieving and weeping for them, and that day no 
shopkeeper in Cairo or Misr opened his shop. 
Karlm ud Dm left his house, to go to the citadel as 
usual, and could not pass by those who were impal- 
ed, so he turned from the road of the gate of Zuwaila. 
The sultan sat in a window, and those whom the 
governor had captured were brought before him. 


He cut off the hands and feet of three, and the emirs 
dared not intercede with him for them because he 
was so wrathful. Karlm ud Dm advanced, uncover- 
ed his head, kissed the ground, and pleaded for 
them. His intercession was heard. The sultan gave 
orders that they should be put in the pit of Gizeh. 
They were taken away, though two of those whose 
hands had been cut off had died. Those who had 
been hung up were taken down from the poles. 
While the sultan sat in the window a cry of fire was 
raised in the neighbourhood of the mosque of Ibn 
Tulun,in the citadel, in the house of the emirRukn ud 
Din Ahmadi, in the quarter of Baha ud Dm, and in 
the inn outside the River gate, in the Maks and 
beyond. On the morning of this fire three Christians 
were seized, with ropes soaked in naphtha. They 
were taken to the sultan, and confessed that they 
had started the fire. These places burned till 
Saturday. When the sultan rode to the parade 
ground, as was his custom, he found a mob of about 
twenty thousand men, who had dyed rags blue and 
put white crosses on them. When they saw him 
they gave one shout, * There is no religion but Islam; 
help the religion of Muhammad, the son of 'Abdulla ; 
O victorious king, O sultan of Islam, help us against 
the unbelievers ; help not the Christians.* The 
earth shook at the noise of their voices, and God 
put fear in the hearts of the sultan and the emirs. 
He rode on in increasing thought till he reached 
the parade ground, and the shouting never ceased. 
He saw that he must temporize, so told the chamber- 
lain to make this proclamation before him : * Whoso 
finds a Christian may take his goods and his life. 1 


The proclamation was made and the mob shouted 
and yelled ' God help you ', and screamed prayers 
for him. The Christians used to wear white 
turbans, so it was proclaimed in Cairo and Misr, 
* Whoso finds a Christian wearing a white turban 
may take his life and his goods. He who finds a 
Christian riding may take his life and his goods/ 
An order was issued that Christians were to wear 
blue turbans, were not to ride on horses and mules, 
that he who rode on a donkey must ride sideways, 
that no one might go into a bath unless he had a 
bell on his neck, that no one might wear Muslim 
costume, and that the emirs might not employ 
Christian servants. They were driven out of the 
sultan's employ, and he wrote to the other provinces 
to discharge all Christian employees. The Muslims 
made so many attacks on the Christians that they 
ceased to go out into the streets, and many turned 

In all this not a word was said about the Jews, 
so if a Christian wanted to go out of his house he 
borrowed a yellow turban from a Jew and wore it, 
to be safe from the mob. 

A Christian secretary had deposited with a Jew 
four thousand dirhams in bullion, and went to his 
house by night in disguise to demand it. The Jew 
took hold of him, shouted, and called on the help of 
God and the Muslims. A crowd collected to seize the 
Christian, who ran inside the Jew's house and asked 
the protection of his wife. He was made to take an 
oath that cleared the Jew so that he was free of him. 
A number of Christians were found in the monas- 
tery of Khindik preparing naphtha to set fire to 
houses : thev were seized and blinded. 


An amnesty was proclaimed, and the people made 
a holiday to see the sultan's procession to the parade 
ground, for they had feared for themselves because 
they had gone beyond the limit in perpetrating^out- 
rages on the Christians. Their minds were at ease ; 
they went to the parade ground, called down bless- 
ings on the sultan, and said, ' May God help you, 
sultan of the land ; we are at peace, we are at peace.' 
The sultan was pleased and smiled at what they 
said. That night there was a fire in the house of 
the emir Almas, the chamberlain in the citadel. The 
wind was strong, the fire blazed, and spread to the 
house of the emir Itamsh. Those in the citadel and 
the inhabitants of Cairo thought that the whole 
citadel was on fire. 


1 in the ruins of the Tartars in the citadel 

1 Zuhri. 

1 Hamra. 

1 of the Daughters near the Seven Conduits. 

1 Abu Mina (or Abu 1 Minya). 

1 Fahadain in Cairo. 

1 in the quarter of the Greeks. 

1 in the Bundukani. 

2 in the quarter of Zuwaila. 
1 in the Flag Store. 

1 in Khindik. 

4 in the province of Alexandria. 

2 in Damanhur. 

4 in the west province. 

3 in the east province. 
6 in Behnasa. 

8 in Assiut Manfalut and Munyat ul Khasib, 


11 in Kus and Aswan. 
1 in Atfihia. 

8 in Misr (Suk Wardan, Masasa, and Kasr Shama'). 
And many monasteries. Those of the Mule and Shahran 
remained empty for a long time. 1 

1 M., 2,512-17. 


SEVERUS is the chief source of information about 
Egypt. When the patriarch Agatho died, Theodo- 
sius sealed the patriarchal palace, so that the house- 
hold could not get bread to eat on the day Agatho 
died. The palace remained shut till orders came 
from 'Abd ul 'Aziz, obtained by the intervention 
of his Christian secretaries, Athanasius and Isaac. 1 
This was religious jealousy rather than government 
tyranny, for Theodosius was a Melkite. When John 
of Samnud died (c. 65), the bishops did not approve 
of the man he had designated as his successor, and 
chose another without waiting for the permission of 
the governor. He had all concerned in this election 
brought to Cairo, cancelled their choice, and appoint- 
ed Isaac the nominee of John. 2 

In 76 John of Sanya died, and Hajjaj forbade the 
Christians to appoint another catholicus, so they 
remained without one till Hajjaj died. 3 

When Isaac died the man chosen by the bishops 
was presented to 'Abd ul 'Aziz. There was some 
opposition, and one Simon was suggested. He was 
fetched and the governor asked him, ' Do you think 
it fit that this John should be patriarch?' He 
answered, ' There is not to be found in Egypt or 
the east one so fit for this office ; he is my spiritual 
father, educated me from childhood, and I know 

1 S., 116. a S., 120. Elias, 9. 


his life to be angelic.' All the bishops and secre- 
taries present cried out, c God give the governor 
long life ; give the throne to Simon, for he deserves 
to be patriarch/ When the governor heard what 
they said about a stranger whom they had known 
only two days, he bade them take him and anoint 
him. 1 

During an interregnum in the patriarchate, while 
Athanasius was head of the government offices in 
Alexandria, he and other secretaries asked the 
governor to appoint the bishop Gregory manager 
of the church and palace of the patriarch, because 
the income and expenditure were great. This was 
done. 2 

When the patriarch of Antioch died the caliph 
Walld would not allow the appointment of another. 3 

In return for a bribe of one thousand dinars, 
Kurra allowed a Melkite patriarch to be appointed 
in Alexandria. 4 In 107 the emperor sent a pre- 
sent to Hisham, and had Kosmas made Melkite 
patriarch. This was the first patriarch they had 
had for seventy-seven years. 5 From these two 
stories and the comment, it is safe to conclude that 
the appointment was made about the turn of the 
century. Hisham allowed a patriarch to be installed 
in Antioch. 6 

While Theodore occupied the throne (109 to 120} 
the prosperity of the patriarchal palace and church 
in Alexandria grew daily, till it was restored to its 
former state or even greater ; it was as if it had 
never been sacked. 7 

1 S., 123. a S., 133. 8 S., 140. 4 S., 141. 

8 M., 2, 493 ' S., 144. 7 S., 150. 


Al Hurr b. Yusuf was asked to permit the 
election of a patriarch ; he asked for money, and, 
when this was not given, refused his permission. 
Then the bishops appealed to Hafs, his successor, 
who told them to choose their man and then present 
him at the governor's palace. They chose Michael, 
a monk in the wadi Habib, and asked Hafs to have 
him brought from there for his installation. 1 

On the death of Athanasius, patriarch of Antioch, 
Hisham appointed his successor and several bishops. 2 

The government kept a sharp watch on the 
doings of the priests. An Indian priest came to 
Simon, the patriarch, and asked him to consecrate 
a bishop for India. He refused until the governors 
permission was obtained, as the Indians were not 
subject to the Muslims. However, Theodore 
consecrated a bishop, and sent him with two priests 
to India. They were taken prisoners and sent 
to the caliph. The Indian, however, escaped and 
went back to Egypt. The three had their hands 
and feet cut off, and the caliph ordered 'Abd ul 
'Aziz to give the patriarch two hundred lashes, fine 
him one hundred thousand dinars, and send him to 
Damascus for acting as a spy on behalf of India. 
Fortunately for him, the Indian priest was dis- 
covered, and he proved the innocence of the 
patriarch. 8 4 

One Isaac, a monk in a monastery near Edessa, 
was visited by a stranger monk, who turned a piece 
of lead into gold by means of an elixir. Isaac mur- 
dured him for his secret, and then found that none 
of the elixir was left. He then made friends with 

1 S., 158. a S., 163. S., 127 ; M., 2, 492. 


Athanasius Sandalana, metropolitan of North Meso- 
potamia, and became a dependent of the caliph 
Mansiir. Athanasius made him bishop of Harran 
illegally, and then Mansiir forced the bishops to 
elect him patriarch in 138 or 139. Knowing that he 
would not be well received by the church, he got 
letters of installation from the caliph, who gave him 
a staff and robe from the royal treasury. He studied 
alchemy, but was unmasked, put to death, and his 
body was thrown into the Euphrates. Mansur then 
made the bishops choose Athanasius as patriarch, 
gave him letters of installation and soldiers to 
secure his position. After two years Athanasius 
died, and there was a schism in the church. The 
bishops of the West chose George, a deacon, and 
those of North Mesopotamia chose John. John died, 
and David, bishop of Dara, slandered George to the 
caliph, accusing him of having said that he would 
never take the name of Muhammad on his lips. 
It was clear that the charge was frivolous, but 
George had not asked for letters of installation, so he 
was put in prison, where he stayed for ten years, till 
the death of the caliph. David was then elected 
in 146 by Mansur's wish, and it is said that when 
he visited a church the sanctuary was filled with 
soldiers and horsemen, not with priests. Those who 
would not recognize him as patriarch were imprison- 
ed in Harran. 1 

It is evident that the government kept a close 
watch on the church. Though the bishops kept the 
right of electing the catholicus, that right was often 
only nominal ; and one who neglected to secure the 

1 C.M., 236,24347. 



caliph's favour was in danger of being treated as a 
rebel. The head of the Christian community had 
not the right to flog or put to death, though he could 
fine or excommunicate. He was often indulgent to 
the rich and those who had influence with the govern- 
ment. 'Aun ul 'Ibadi was threatened with excom- 
munication because he kept concubines. He retort- 
ed by threatening to turn Muslim if discipline was 
applied to him. 1 

Sometimes the caliph helped in the maintenance 
of discipline. Hunainand Taifuri met in the house 
of a Christian, where a lamp was burning before a 
picture of Christ and the disciples. Hunain asked 
the master of the house why he wasted oil, as these 
figures were only pictures. Taifuri said, ' If these 
do not deserve honour, spit on them/ Hunain did so, 
and Taifuri complained to Mutawakkil about it, and 
asked that judgment should be done on him accord- 
ing to Christian law. The catholicus and bishops 
were consulted, and decreed that he should be ex- 
communicated. This was done. He took off his 
zunnar, went to his house, and died ; it is said that 
he poisoned himself. 2 

The government kept a close watch on the heads 
of the churches, though it took a friendly interest in 
them on occasion. When 'Abdulla b. Tahir, the 
governor, came to Kallinicus, Abiram and his par- 
tisans came to ask from him authority and a com- 
mission. The patriarch of Antioch also went there, 
and was given an audience before these rebels. 
The governor asked about their history, so the 
patriarch told all their doings and their opposition to 

1 JahizH.,4,9. B.H. Mu., 252. 


his predecessors, and that they wanted a commission 
only to cause trouble in the land. Then 'Abdulla 
gave orders for that mad man and his party to be 
admitted, and asked who he was. He answered 
that he was the patriarch. Because he was not tell- 
ing the truth the rightful patriarch opposed him. 
The governor then told the officer, who stood behind 
him, to go to the crowd of thousands of Christians 
standing outside, and ask who was their patriarch 
and legal head. When he went out and shouted his 
question the Christians cried out, * We have no 
patriarch and head save Dionysius.' When 
'Abdulla saw this, and commissions given us by 
Mamun and his own father, Tahir, he looked sternly 
at Abiram and said, ' I see that you are a fraud ; 
this patriarch is the head.' Immediately the pallium 
was taken from Abiram, and 'Abdulla reproved him 
and said, ' Do not let me hear again that you have 
worn the pallium, nor held in your hand the pastoral 
staff, nor been addressed as patriarch. And if I 
hear again that you travel through the land, you 
are a dead man. 5 Dionysius returned to Antioch, 
and 'Abdulla was kind to him and showed him 
much honour. 

Then Simeon, the brother of Abiram and an 
excommunicated monk, went to Baghdad, took with 
him the commission from 'Ali b. abi Talib preserved 
in the monastery of Gubba the Outer, and showed 
them there. He wrote calumnies against Dionysius 
purporting to come from Christians, complaining of 
oppression, appealed to the commission of 'Ali, and 
claimed the supremacy. Orders and a commission 
were given him in the name of Abiram, that he 


might go where he chose without hindrance. When 
Simeon came back with this commission, crowds of 
monks gathered and prepared to come into the 
presence of 'Abdulla. The patriarch was sent for 
from Antioch. When he arrived he was told about 
Abiram, and that he had not been given an audience. 
Then 'Abdulla sent for him, and when he saw the 
cowl on his head he gazed sternly at him and asked, 
* Why do you transgress my commandment and 
wear the pallium ? ' He replied that it was a cowl for 
the head, and not the pallium. 'Abdulla then asked 
the patriarch, who gave the same answer. When 
'Abdulla saw the commission given by Mamun, 
he said to Dionysius, ' I cannot banish Abiram 
unless you send to Baghdad and get a rescript to 
cancel this/ 1 

As the natural importance of the patriarchate 
might be enhanced by the favour of a powerful 
governor or the caliph himself, it is not surprising 
that candidates for the post were ready to give 
bribes to those who could help to the attainment of 
this office. About the year 449 there was a quarrel 
in the church ; two patriarchs were elected, one in 
the castle of Mansur and one in Amid, and one of 
them gave bribes to ' the rulers of the world '. 2 The 
same thing happened in Mardln a few years later. 3 
In 688 presents were given to the ruler of Mosul. 4 
Details of the sort of intrigues that went on and 
the difficulties the church had to face are revealed 
by the following incident. Shahraman was vexed 
with the catholicus in Kal'at ur Rum, because he 
refused to surrender a fugitive monk, so gave orders 

1 S.A., 2, 269. 2 S.A., 2, 290. 8 S.A., 2, 316. 4 S.A., 2, 320. 


that his name should not be mentioned in the 
church prayers in his land and that he should not 
be received. The captain of the castle of Sansun, 
an Armenian of the family of the catholicus, bribed 
Shahraman, and told him that the catholicus had a 
son and so was not fit to hold his office, and offered 
him money for his help. Shahraman agreed. The 
captain collected some forty bishops, who elected an 
old man as catholicus. Afterwards he appointed 
the young son of the captain. The lad took the 
land of Armenia, appointed bishops, and consecrated 
the holy oil. When Karikarius, the then catholicus 
in KaPat ur Rum, heard of this, he sent a messenger 
to Baghdad to ask the help of the caliph. In return 
for big gifts, he was given letters to Biktamir, the 
lord of Armenia and Khalat. When Biktamir 
received these letters, he gave orders to dismiss 
this lad and the bishops he had appointed. In this 
way Karikarius got back the land of Armenia. 1 
These events must have happened between 581 
and 589. Yakut remarks that Kal'at ur Rum was 
the seat of the Armenian patriarch ; the Muslims 
let him keep it as they let the Christians generally 
keep their churches, and also it was not important. 

Though the patriarch was apt to be the plaything 
of the temporal powers in times of peace, in time ol 
trouble he was the protector to whom the Christians 
turned. During the confusion that followed a sack 
of Baghdad the Christians of Tekrit asked him tc 
send them a governor to protect them. 2 

In dealing with foreign powers the governmem 
was sometimes very conciliatory. Michael Palaeo 

1 S.A., 2, 306. B.H., 508. 


logus requested the sultan Baibars to allow the 
appointment of a Melkite patriarch in Egypt. 
Rashid ul Kahhal was chosen, sent to Constantinople 
with several bishops for consecration, and brought 
back presents from the emperor for the sultan. 
Baibars told him to keep them, 660. 1 In 673 the 
king of Abyssinia asked for a metropolitan to be 
chosen by the patriarch of Alexandria. His request 
was granted. 2 

The patriarch was a government servant, and his 
appointment needed to be ratified by the caliph. 
This is brought out clearly in the charter granted 
to the Nestorian 'Abdishu III, who entered on his 
office in A.D. 1138. After the usual pious introduc- 
tion, the caliph refers to his 

* Regard for the common weal, which includes 
Muslims and allies, the near and the far, and the 
various religions of the people of the book who have 
a covenant and sanction of the law ; the protection 
of~which embraces and shields them, so that the 
shade of kindness reaches them all, and their eyes 
and ears acknowledge the watch over them. I laid 
your case before the Commander of the Faithful, that 
you are the most exemplary in life of the people of 
your faith, the nearest of them to goodness both in 
doctrine and nature, the most filled with qualities 
which, they agree, distinguish and separate you 
from them, and make you worthy of receiving that 
which you hope and desire ; and that you fulfil all 
the conditions of the office of catholicus, which are 
known among them, with its qualities, and witness 
is born to you that you have the complete character 

1 Q., 1, 177. ' Q., 2, 122. 


and nature. A deputation of Christians came, 
men whose opinion is respected in finding out the 
life of those like you, in discovering the histories 
of those who resemble you and are akin to you. 
They announced that religious men, both public 
and private, had examined your life, and by the ex- 
perience of their need of a catholicus, to control their 
affairs and guide their community wisely, they 
confirmed and agreed, by the consent of their minds 
and the union of their hearts and desires, to choose 
you as the head of their religion, to manage their 
affairs, settle their policy, and do justice between the 
strong and the weak. They asked that their choice 
of you might be ratified by that approval which 
establishes its rules, makes valid its promises, 
consolidates its erection, and strengthens its pegs. 

4 The caliph gave orders to fulfil their request at 
once and to put on them the wings of desire to its 
attainment. The most noble order went forth may 
its commands be ever bound up with success ! to 
make you catholicus of the Nestorian Christians in 
Baghdad and the other lands of Islam, and head of 
them and the others, Greeks, Jacobites, and Melkites 
in the whole land, to single you out from all people 
of your faith to wear the well-known insignia of the 
catholicus in all your houses of prayer and all places 
of worship, so that no other wears this dress or is 
permitted to adorn himself with it, neither metro- 
politan, bishop, nor deacon, to put them below your 
rank and to keep them under the place and position 
which is especially yours. If any of those mentioned 
enters the door of strife or opposition, or frightens 
and terrifies the hearts of your servants, or refuses to 


obey your commands, or from being at peace turns 
to enmity with you, punishment shall overtake him 
and retribution come upon him for his schisrgi till 
his spear is made straight and his stone grows soft 
by beating, those like him are prevented from acting 
as he has done, and your law is saved from every- 
thing that disturbs its order. 

'According to the example of the imams, he 
ordered you to be invested with the rights of those 
who preceded and came before you in the office of 
catholicus. He ordered to confirm your position, 
and that of those who follow and come after you, to 
protect you and the people of your faith in their 
persons and property, to guard you well in safety, 
and to confirm established customs in the burying 
of your dead and the protection of your churches 
and monasteries ; in all this to act on the model set 
by the first four caliphs towards your predecessors 
and followed by later imams, your treaty and 
covenant ; to limit themselves to asking the poll-tax 
from your men of sound understanding, but not 
from women and immature boys; to demand it 
once a year, without turning aside from the approved 
decree of the law in levying it ; that the various 
Christians may find justice in their litigation, that 
he will take justice from the strong for the weak 
and will lead to the right him who has turned to 
wickedness and injustice. He will so watch over 
them as to establish the rights and privileges 
whereby men live in safety, and he will go on the 
plain path and straight road/ 1 

1 Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 1926. 


NOT all the Arabs accepted Islam at once ; the 
Taghlib are the best known of those who clung to 
their Christianity. 'Umar wished to treat them 
like other Christians and make them pay jizya, but 
they refused on the ground that it was beneath their 
dignity as Arabs. As a compromise, they were 
allowed to pay the same taxes as the Muslims, only 
doubled. Thus the tax on merchandise became five 
per cent. There are the usual differences of 
opinion as to who paid the zakat. One story is that 
men and women paid it, but not boys. The Irak 
view was that boys and idiots paid it on land (crops) 
and not on cattle ; the Hedjaz view was that they 
paid on cattle, but not on their slaves and other 
property. 1 The lawyers also differ. Ahmad b. 
Hanbal says that it was paid by all men, women, 
and boys. Abu Hanifa says that it was paid by 
women, while Malik and Shafe'i say that it was 
not paid by women and boys. 2 Another condition 
imposed by 'Umar was that they were not to 
baptize the children of those tribesmen who turned 
Muslim. 8 

'Umar seems to have felt it a disgrace that Arabs 
should not be Muslims, for he ordered Ziyad b. 
Jarir, the tax gatherer, to be severe with Taghlib, 
'for they were Arabs and not people of the book'. 

1 Kh., 69. * Rahmat, 2, 171. T.I., 2509. 


Still, justice was not always denied them. There is 
a tale that one of the tribe, with a horse, which he 
valued at twenty thousand dirhams,met the tax collec- 
tor and paid one thousand dirhams as tax. Later in 
the year the same collector asked him to pay the tax a 
second time, or to surrender the horse and get back 
his thousand dirhams. The man appealed to the 
caliph, who decreed that the tax had to be paid once a 
year only. 1 Further, it was enough for a man of 
Taghlib to declare that his debts equalled the value 
of his goods, and he paid nothing. 2 

In the reign of 'Abd ul Malik a lampoon of al 
Akhtal's was the cause of an attack on Taghlib, in 
which many men and women were killed. 8 There 
is nothing to show that religion had anything to do 
with this, it may have been ordinary tribal warfare. 
At this time, however, persecution began. Muham- 
mad, the governor of Mesopotamia, sent for Mu'adh, 
the chief of Taghlib, and persecuted him to make 
him turn Muslim. As he refused, he cast him into a 
pit of mud. Then he brought him out and flogged 
him, and, as he would not be persuaded, he had him 
killed. 4 It continued in the next reign. Walid, the 
caliph, said to Sham'ala, the chief of Taghlib, ' As 
you are a chief of the Arabs you shame them all by 
worshipping the cross; obey my wish and turn 
Muslim.' He replied, * How so ? I am chief of 
Taghlib, and I fear lest I become a cause of destruc- 
tion to them all, if I and they cease to believe 
in Christ.' When Walid heard this he gave an order, 
and they dragged him away on his face. The caliph 
swore to him that if he did not turn Muslim he 

1 M., 2, 122. * Yabya, 50. Agh., 11, 56. B.H., 112. 


would make him eat his own flesh. This did not 
move him. Flesh was cut from his bones, roasted, 
and t.hrust into his mouth. As he endured this 
he was blinded. He lived, and the wounds could be 
seen on his body. 1 

About the same time Taghlib suffered in tribal 
war and lost its chief. One of their enemies an- 
nounced that he would protect the pregnant women 
of Taghlib if they would take shelter with him. 
They fled to him, some even tying cooking pots 
under their clothes to simulate pregnancy. Then 
he ripped open the bellies of them all. 2 

One is glad to know that this barbarity disgusted 
the chiefs of his own side. 

The Banu Tha'laba were also Christians, their 
interview with 'Umar II is described in the chapter 
on dress. There were bishops of the Banu Tha'laba 
and the Banu Jarm apparently in Muslim times. 3 
Between the years A.D. 837 and 850 there was a 
bishop of Sanaa and Yemen, but presumably he 
was only titular. 4 About 183, one Simeon was 
bishop of the Arabs. 5 Parts of the tribes of Sulaim 
and Tai were also Christian. 6 Thomas of Marga, 
tells of a man who had been bishop of the Scattered. 
During a drought he had gone with his church into 
the desert to pray for rain. The Arabs who dwell 
in tents fell upon them, captured him, and kept him 
a prisoner for forty years in northern Mesopotamia. 
He was useful to them as a herd. The diocese of 
this man seems to have been nomadic or semi- 

1 B.H., 115 ; Agh., 10, 93 3 Agh., 20, 128. 

1 Cheikho, 99. 4 Thomas, 2, 448. 

8 C.M., 256. Yak.B., 309. 


nomadic. 1 At times their religion made no differ- 
ence to the Christian Arabs, they behaved and were 
treated just like the others. A'sha, of the 3anu 
Taghlib, was a poet and boon companion of Hurr b. 
Yusuf , who was at one time governor of Egypt. They 
were once drinking in his garden, at Mosul, when 
A'sha got drunk and fell asleep, so Hurr called for 
his slave girls and went into a summer house. A'sha 
woke up, followed him, and, though the servants 
tried to stop him, he burst in upon Hurr and his 
women. A eunuch hit him in the face, so he went to 
his tribe, told them of the insult, got help, rushed 
on Hurr, and hit him in the face. 

The caliph Walld was friendly with A'sha, who 
later recited a poem in praise of 'Umar b. 'Abd ul 
'Aziz, after he had become caliph. He said, c I do 
not think that poets have any claim on the treasury, 
and if they had, you, a Christian, have none/ 2 

According to the law books, Christian Arabs were 
not ' people of the book'; Muslims might not marry 
their women, nor eat animals they had killed. 3 


It is surprising how little Muslim authors have 
to say about the Jews ; the law books rarely mention 
them, speaking only of dhimmis or Christians. The 
natural impression would be that they were few and 
unimportant ; but that is not so. Benjamin of 
Tudela, found them wherever he went, sometimes in 
large numbers. In Alexandria, at the conquest, were 
40,000 or 70,000 of them, and it is stated that there 

1 Thomas, 1, 132, 2, 275 n. * Agh., 10, 93. Umm, 4, 194 f. 


was a special clause in the treaty of surrender 
permitting them to live there. 1 In Persia were fewer 
Jews than Christians. 2 

(The Jews were traders, craftsmen, doctors, and 
civil servants^and examples of their success in these 
professions have been given elsewhere. Of Ya'kub 
b. Yusuf b. Killis it was said, ' If he were a Muslim 
he would be fit to be vizier.' About 380 he turned 
Muslim and became vizier. 3 Amm ud Dawla abu 1 
Hasan b. Ghazal, a Jewish or Samaritan doctor, 
was for a time vizier of Malik Salih. When he was 
put to death they found property worth three million 
pieces of gold and a library of ten thousand volumes, 
many of them valuable. 4 Yusuf Burhan ul Falak, 
the astronomer of Zain ud Din, the brother of Nur ud 
Dm, was a leading Jew in Mosul. 5 

They followed various trades, and as jewellers 
had dealings with kings. The widow of Kafur com- 
plained to the Fatimid caliph, al Mu'izz, that she had 
entrusted to a Jewish goldsmith a kuba^ woven with 
gold and pearls, and that he denied having received 
it. The caliph sent for him and urged him to give 
back the garment, but he persisted in his denial. 
His house was searched, and the kuba found buried 
in an earthen jar. 6 The Jews of Jerusalem had a 
monopoly of the dyeing industry in the town. 7 
The making of eunuchs was one of the occupations 
of those in Andalus. 8 In Baghdad most of the 
mukhallitun were Jews. 9 In Palermo they had 
their own quarter of the town. 10 Jews resident 

1 Husn, 1, 60 ; J.N., 374. ' I.H., 207. 8 A.M., II, 2, 45. 

4 Q., 1, 27, 30. ' Benj., 46. a Husn, 2, 13. 7 Benj., 31. 

8 I.H., 75. Ath., y. 573. 10 I.H., 85. 


in Europe were well-known traders in the domains 
of the caliph. They spoke Arabic, Persian, Greek, 
French, Spanish, and Russian. ^They travelled 
from the east to the west and from west to east, 
bringing from the west slave boys and girls, 
eunuchs, silk, skins of beavers, rats, and foxes, and 
swords. Starting from Frankland they go to Farama 
and then by land to Kulzum, and from there to Jar, 
Jidda, India, and China/ Thence they bring musk, 
aloes, cinnamon, camphor, etc. They return by the 
same road, but sometimes go and sell their goods in 
Constantinople. Sometimes they go from the land 
of the Franks to Antioch, thence by land to the 
Euphrates and Baghdad, thence down the Tigris to 
Ubulla and Uman, India, and China. 1 Jewish 
scholars and doctors travelled as did the Muslims. 
Yiisuf b. Yahya b. Ishak studied in Jallada, and, 
when the Almohades forced the Jews to accept 
Islam or go into exile, he concealed his religion and 
went to Egypt, where he studied under Maimonides, 
himself an exile from Spain. 2 Yehuda b. Yusuf was 
a pupil of Thabit b. Kurra, the Sabian, in philosophy 
and medicine, at Rakka. 8 

Jews and Christians were not always on the best 
of terms. In the early stages of the Muslim con- 
quests the invaders realized that the Jews might be 
relied on to support them against the Christians. 
So Mu'awia settled Jews in Tripoli as soon as he 
had captured it. 4 It was the same in Spain. The 
Muslims gathered the Jews into the towns they 
conquered, into Cordova, Granada, Toledo, and 

1 KhunJadbeh, 153. 2 B.H. Mu., 423. Mas.T., 113. 

4 B.,127. 


Seville, 1 because they were the enemies of the 
Christians. When Walid incorporated the church 
of S. John into the mosque of Damascus, he sent 
Zaid b. Tamim, who was over the tribute, to 
summon the Jews to do the work of destruction. 2 
Other instances of this bad feeling, both in Syria 
and Egypt, have been given elsewhere ; yet at 
times Jews came to the relief of Christians. In 
a time of persecution Jews lent their yellow tur- 
bans so that Christians could go into the streets with 
less fear of molestation. The Jews never seem to 
have provoked the same ill-feeling as the Christians. 

Still their reputation was not altogether good. 
There was a saying, ' A Jew will never pay his taxes 
till he has had his head smacked \ 3 Another saying 
was, ' Do not travel with a Jew, for he will play some 
trick on you '. In illustration of this saying, the story 
is told that a Muslim who was riding with a Jew 
asked him what trick he was playing. He explained 
that he rode in such a position that the shadow of 
his mule always fell on the shadow of his com- 
panion's head. The same prejudice lies behind 
the tale that the Jewish physician, Musa, on his 
deathbed told the kadi to forbid all Jews to practise 
as doctors, for ' we think it right to kill those who 
profane the Sabbath '. 4 The tale, that a Jew was 
drowned for sitting above the notables in the pre- 
sence of Mamun, seems to be an exaggeration of the 
story of al Kindi. 5 

They were looked on as an inferior people, who 
were occasionally allowed the crumbs that fell from 

1 Mak., 1, 166 f,, 170. a I.A., 1, 201. Raudatain, 1, 203. 

4 Ghazi,397. 5 Ghazi,396. 


their masters' tables. This attitude still persists in 
Yemen, where the Jews for the most part do not 
carry arms. An Arab would be disgraced if it be- 
came known that he had killed a Jew. It is not the 
act of a sportsman. 

In the time of Nasir i Khusrau the Jews went on 
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 1 

They had their own religious chief, called the 
Head of the Dispersion. In the reign of Muktadir, 
one Daud b. Zakkai filled the post. 2 Benjamin of 
Tudela paints a highly coloured picture of the power 
and importance of this dignitary, who was at that 
time Daniel b. Khasdai. With his ten assistants he 
was the judge of all the Jews. The Muslims called 
him ' Our Lord, the son of David '. He had authority 
over all Jews in the caliph's dominions. Muktafi, 
who restored the office, had given him this power. 
Every one, Jew or Muslim, had to stand up in his 
presence, and he who failed to do so was beaten 
with one hundred stripes. He had an audience with 
the caliph every Thursday, when horsemen, Jews 
and others, cried out before him, ' Make way for our 
Lord, the son of David.' He wore a turban and 
rode a horse. He kissed the hand of the caliph and 
then sat in the presence while Muslim kings had to 
stand. 3 His income was two hundred thousand gold 
pieces, derived from taxes on the Jews. When he is 
appointed he has to pay great sums to the caliph, 
the nobles, and the officials.* In later times Egypt 
had its own Head of the Dispersion. In 684 Muha- 
dhdhab abu 1 Muwaffak, a doctor, was made head 
of the Jews. He was given a diploma, conferring on 

1 Sefernameh, 20. a Mas.T., 113. * Benj,, 56. * Benj., 58. 


him the superintendence over all sects of Jews and 
the Samaritans in the whole of Egypt. 1 When the 
Jews wish to excommunicate a man they blow 
trumpets against him. This is not strictly part of 
their law, but under Muslim rule their chief could 
neither flog nor put to death. 2 

Once when a Jew tried to raise a rebellion the 
Head of the Dispersion came to the rescue of his 
people. He proclaimed that this pretender was not 
the Messiah, and gave to the king of Persia one 
hundred talents, and so persuaded him not to 
punish the Jews for the folly of one of them. 3 

The rule that difference of religion constitutes a 
bar to inheritance originated in the marriage of an 
Arab woman to a Jew. The aunt of al Ash'ath 
married a Jew, and died childless. Al Ash'ath asked 
for her property, but 'Umar replied, ' There can be 
no inheritance between people of two religions'. 4 

Mahmud of Ghazna made a garden in Balkh and 
forced the townsfolk to maintain it. They grumbled 
at the burden, so the sultan imposed the duty on 
the Jews of the town, stipulating that not more than 
five hundred dirhams should be exacted from them 
for it. 5 

In Egypt, in 860, the Samaritans and the Karaites 
had their own chiefs, and were no longer under the 
head of the orthodox Jews. 6 


'Umar I was told of a people, worshipping fire, 
who were neither Jews, Christians, nor people of 

1 Q., 3, 80. * Jahiz H., 4, 9. Benj., 72, 75. I.R., 205. 
8 Barthold, 288. Gottheil, 409. 



the book. He said that he did not know what 
to do with them. Then 'Abd ur Rahman b. 'Auf 
rose and said, * I testify that the Prophet said, 
"Treat them like the people of the book.'" 1 
There are many traditions like this, and it is evident 
that the Muslims were puzzled how to treat the 
Magians. Though the Prophet is said to have 
decided the question, there is no evidence that he 
ever had dealings with the adherents of this faith. 
In practice they were treated much as the other 
conquered religions. The treaties guarantee them 
the free exercise of their religion, and that this was 
no empty form is shown by the words written in the 
fourth century, ' It is a rule of the Magian religion 
that if a woman under certain circumstances commits 
adultery, she has to come before the sacred fire and 
strip before one of the priests, that he may purify her 
with the urine of the cow '. 2 At first their temples 
did not suffer more than the churches. It has been 
shown in Chapter III that their temples were numer- 
ous, rich, and much visited. They kept their own 
marriage laws. In some ways they were worse off 
than the other dkimmis. The blood money for 
killing a Magian was much less than for the other 
dhimmis, and no Muslim was allowed to marry one 
of their women or to eat an animal killed by them. 3 
In early times relations between Muslims and 
Magians were at times very friendly. Thus 
Mughira ul Ukaishir married his cousin, paying a 
bride price of four or (accounts vary) ten thousand 
dirhams. 4 His own family would not help him to 
raise the money, so he appealed to Ibn Ras ul 

1 Kb., 74. * I.H., 190. 3 B., 80 ; Umm, 4, 104. * Agh., 10, 86. 


Bughl, a Magian dihkan, who gave him the money. 
Magian customs died hard. Near Kazwln was a 
village of Magians, who ate the flesh of all the 
draught cattle which died. 1 In Bukhara they 
sacrificed a cock before sunrise on the day of 
Nawruz. 2 Those who lived in Samarkand had to 
keep a dam in repair, and in return for this service 
were excused the payment of tribute. 8 

The government gave some support to this faith, 
which, as one of the protected religions, was 
officially recognized. Thus, when Bih Afrld started 
preaching his reformed doctrine, the priests ap- 
pealed to Abu Muslim, who sent an army against 
the innovator. 4 Again, when Mutawakkil contem- 
plated his reform of the calendar, he consulted a 
Magian priest as if it were the most natural thing 
in the world to do. 5 

In certain quarters there was a prejudice against 
things Persian and Magian. 'Abdulla b. Tahir 
refused to listen to the Persian romance of Wamik 
and'Adhra, threw the book into the river, and ordered 
all Magian books to be burnt. 6 One account says 
that a Muslim divine refused Firdausi burial in the 
cemetery because he was a heretic. A later form of 
the story says that the divine refused to read the 
prayers for the dead over him because he had sung 
the praises of Persian kings. 7 

1 Mas., 3, 27. 2 Barthold, 107. 8 Barthold, 85. * Br. Ch., 210 f. 
Br. Ch., 31 f. Dawlatshah, 30. 7 Ch.M., 51 ; Dawlatshah, 54. 


AMONG other things the covenant forbade loud 
beating of the nakus^ loud chanting during worship, 
the carrying of the cross or sacred books in pro- 
cessions, and, in one version, the setting of crosses 
on churches. Another opinion forbade the riakus in 
cities founded by the Arabs. 1 The schools of law 
add other conditions. Thus, four things put a 
dhimmi outside the pale of the law; blasphemy 
of God, His book, His religion, or His Prophet A 
list of eight deeds which outlaw a dhimmi includes 
fornication with a Muslim woman, an attempt to 
marry one, and any attempt to pervert a Muslim 
from his religion. 2 

The opinions of the lawyers, though perhaps not 
conclusive evidence of what was actually happening, 
are not entirely divorced from everyday life. Thus 
Shafe'i says that the government must not interfere 
with any practice of the dhimmis, although contrary 
to Muslim law, so long as it is not obtruded on 
public notice. So, in a town where no Muslims live, 
Christians may build churches and tall houses, and 
no one may interfere with their pigs and festivals. 
A dhimmi may lend money at interest to another, 
or contract a marriage not recognized by Muslim 
law, and no one can interfere. It is reported that 

1 Kh,, 88. a Mizan, 2, 162. 


4 Umar dissolved certain Magian marriages, but 
Shafe'i thinks that one of the parties concerned 
must have asked him to act. A dhimmi must not 
give a wife to a Muslim ward without the guardian's 
permission. Some of ShafeTs views are not al- 
together consistent with this generous attitude. 
He says that anyone may destroy wine, a pig, or 
a raw skin, for these are unclean and have no price. 
But there is a penalty for destroying a skin in 
which wine has been kept, for it is a manufac- 
tured article and has, therefore, a price. There is 
no penalty for destroying a golden image, as the 
material is not damaged, but if a man breaks a 
wooden image or cross, so that the wood is useless 
for any other purpose, there is a penalty. Similarly, 
with a drum or a flute. He does not think it right 
for a Muslim to sell a (Muslim ?) slave man or 
women to a Christian, but is not sure that he ought 
to cancel the sale if once it has taken place. The 
correct thing to do is for the Muslim to offer the 
slave, and, when he fails to find a Muslim purchaser, 
then only to sell him to a Christian. A Koran 
must not be sold to a Christian. If Shafe'i had 
had his way, he would have annulled a will bequeath- 
ing a Koran or a collection of Traditions to a 
Christian, and would have put other restrictions on 
a dhimmi's power of dividing his property. A 
bequest for building a church, or buying land, or 
servants for it, would have been disallowed ; also 
one for copying the Bible. A bequest to build a 
church as a resting-place for wayfarers and the 
poor would have been permitted. A Christian 
might not will away more than one-third of his 


property from the natural heirs. 1 'Umar II allowed 
bequests to churches, for which the technical term 
wakf is used. 2 

The treaties do not entirely support these state- 
ments. Abu 'Ubaida promised not to interfere 
with the festivals of Damascus, but in another ver- 
sion of the treaty is this clause, 'If they bring a 
cross outside a church it shall be broken over the 
head of him who carries it '. 3 At c Ana the terms 
of surrender were, ' That they might beat the 
nakus at any hour of the day or night they wished, 
except at the times of Muslim prayer, and they 
might take out the crosses on the day of their 
festival (Easter)*. 4 In the treaties with Jerusalem 
and Lydda, crosses were expressly exempted from 
destruction. 5 In that with Rai is the stipulation, 
* Whoso curses a Muslim or insults him shall be 
punished severely, whoso strikes one shall be put 
to death '. 6 

Often the historians mention casual details which 
throw light on this subject. In Egypt 'Amr b. 1 'As 
prayed in a church, following its orientation almost 
exactly. 7 The pulpit in his mosque is said to have 
been taken from a church ; but there are other 
accounts of its origin. The governor Maslama b. 
Mukhallad forbade the beating of the nakus during 
the call to prayer. 8 

When, in 40, Mu'awia was proclaimed caliph in 
Jerusalem, he prayed at Golgotha and then went to 
Gethsemane and prayed at the tomb of Mary. 
Being a wise ruler, he took care to keep the peace 

1 Umm, 4, 126, 132 f. 2 Ibn Sa'd, 5, 262. 8 LA., 1, 178. 4 Kh., 86. 
6 T.I., 2405. T.I., 2655. 7 M., 2,247. 8 M., 2,248. 


between his Christian subjects. The Jacobite 
bishops, Theodore and Sabukt, came to Damascus 
and disputed with the Maronites before the caliph 
about the faith. The Jacobites were worsted, so 
Mu'awia ordered them to pay twenty thousand dinars. 
He bade them be at peace, and made it a custom 
that the Jacobite bishops should pay him this money 
every year, that they might not be persecuted by the 
orthodox church. He who is called the patriarch of 
the Jacobites put a tax on all monks, nuns, and all 
members of the church to pay this sum. He made 
Mu'awia his heir, so from fear all the Jacobites were 
subject to him. 1 Walid b. 'Ukba and the Christian 
poet Abu Zubaid were buried in one place. 2 In 
Egypt the governor 'Abd ul 'Aziz ordered all 
crosses, even those of gold and silver, in Misr to be 
broken, and had placards fixed on the doors of the 
churches in Cairo and Lower Egypt bearing the 
words, ' Muhammad is the great Prophet of God 
and Jesus is also a prophet of God'. 3 Later he 
stopped the service of the mass. 4 These state- 
ments seem to be at variance with what we read of 
the churches that were built with the permission, 
if not at the command of, ' Abd ul 'Aziz, but Makrizi 
says that he dealt hardly with the Christians. 5 
Al Asbagh, his son, went into the monastery of 
Hulwan, saw a picture of the Virgin and child, 
hawked and spat on it. He said, ' If I find an 
opportunity I will blot out the Christians from this 
province/ fl At a later date Abu 1 Kasim came to 
Insina, and visited the monastery of Abu Shenuda. 

' C.M., 70 f. * Agh., 4, 185. S., 121. 4 S., 126. 

' M., 2, 492. fl S., 134. 


He and a concubine rode to the monastery on 
horseback. He proposed to ride into the church, 
but the abbot tried to prevent him, telling him that 
no woman had ever entered that church and come 
out alive. He paid no attention. Inside the horses 
reared, the governor was thrown, and the woman 
and her horse killed. He gave his horse and four 
hundred dinars to the church. In the same church 
was a chest used to hold the service books. One of 
the governor's suite tried to buy it, but the monks 
refused to sell it. Then the Arab wanted to take it 
away by force, but thirty men could not lift it. 
Frightened at his ill success, the man gave them 
three hundred dinars. 1 

The caliph Walid b. 'Abd ul Malik was one day 
seated on his minbar when he heard a noise which 
he was told was the beating of the nakus. So he 
had the church destroyed. The emperor sent a 
complaint about it. 2 'Umar II stopped the nakus 
and forbade loud chanting in worship. 3 While 
Hanzala was governor of Egypt, in 104, Usama b. 
Zaid, at the orders of Yazld, destroyed churches, 
broke crosses and images, and defaced ikons. 4 
Maslama, the brother of Yazld, who was governor 
of Irak and Khorasan, gave orders to erase all 
pictures, whether on churches, walls, or houses, or 
in books, and to break all images, whether of wood, 
stone, or ivory. 5 

In Kufa, when the muedhdhin wished to give 
the call to prayer, the Christians beat the nakus 
in the church which Khalid ul Kasri had built 

1 S., 154. Mas., 5, 381. 8 S.A., 1, 307. * M., 2, 492 ; S., 144. 
8 S.A., 1, 308. 


for his mother behind the mosque, and when the 
preacher began the sermon the Christians began to 
sing loudly. 1 

The following incident seems to be early and to 
have happened in Damascus. It is not possible 
to identify the governor, but there is nothing in- 
herently improbable in the story. l The governor 
*Amr b. Sa'd was urged by evil men to attack the 
Christians in his province. He proposed to smite 
them and destroy their prosperity. He gave orders 
that crosses should be removed and torn down 
from walls and markets, and that the passion of the 
cross should not be displayed at feasts and Easter. 
When the governor issued this tyrannical order 
the Jews rejoiced exceedingly, and ran to take down 
the honoured crosses from the roofs of the holy 
temples and churches, and to demolish those in the 
markets and on walls. The Christians were much 
afflicted ; so one of their notables, a pious man, 
who feared God and was on friendly terms with 
*Amr, went to him and said, " Virtuous governor, is 
it just to give the accursed Jews, the adversaries of 
our faith, power over us, to go into our churches 
and make mock of our mysteries and crosses ?" 
The governor said, and God put it into his heart, 
" I only ordered them to destroy the crosses in the 
markets, which we see as we pass by." He com- 
manded one of those who stood before him to go 
and cast down headlong every Jew he found on the 
roof of a church. Now a Jew had climbed on to the 
roof of the great church of John the Baptist, and 
was coming down the stairs, carrying the cross 

1 Agh., 19, 59. 


which he had torn from the roof. When the soldier 
sent by the governor saw the Jew, he took the cross 
from him and struck him on the head, so that his 
brains came out through his nostrils, and he fell 
dead. So this order was made less oppressive/ 1 

The church in Damascus was near the royal 
palace. Hisham ordered a house to be built near by 
for the patriarch, that he might hear the prayers 
and services. He often said to him, * When you 
begin the prayers at night, great peace comes to me, 
care for my kingdom goes, and then sleep comes to 
me.' 2 Hisham was kindly disposed to the Chris- 
tians ; in his reign the patriarch Michael entered 
Alexandria in procession with candles, crosses, and 
gospels. Another marvel was that it rained. 3 In 
the early days of the Abbasid dynasty the Nile failed 
to rise. A great company of Christians went out 
carrying the cross and the holy gospel, stood on 
the bank of the river and prayed, crying till the 
third hour of the day, ' Kyrie Eleisori . Their prayers 
were heard. 4 

In the time of Harun it was customary to carry 
the cross in procession, for the Christians had insist- 
ed on their right to do so on one day, presumably 
Easter. Banners were forbidden. 5 Once when the 
caliph passed through Edessa, the Arabs assembled 
and slandered the Christians, alleging that they were 
spies of the emperor, who came every year secretly 
and prayed in the churches. They asked him to 
demolish the great church and abolish the nakus. 
By the mediation and advice of Yahya, the caliph's 
secretary, they were rebuffed and their request 

1 S.A., 1, 262. a S., 145. 8 S., 163. * S., 199, Kh., 82. 


rejected. 1 A few years later, ' by the contrivance 
of evil men ', the riakus was prohibited in Malatia, 
also the passage of funerals through the markets, 
and the setting up of crosses in them. A cross 
was allowed on the church. 2 

Mutawakkil's laws are definite. He forbade Chris- 
tians to carry the cross in procession, and to read 
their services in the street. All graves were to be 
levelled with the ground, and wooden devils fixed 
to the houses of dhimmis? It is also said that he 
forbade them to light fires in the streets. 4 When 
Ahmad b. Tulun built the part of Cairo known as 
Katai' he destroyed some Jewish and Christian 
cemeteries. 5 When building his mosque, he refused 
to use pillars taken from churches because they 
were taboo. 6 

Under the stress of calamity distinctions were 
dropped. In 319 there was a bad flood in Tekrit, 
and Christians and Muslims were buried toge- 
ther, for none could distinguish between them. 7 
Mukaddasi, writing in the fourth century, reveals 
that the ruling faith was not without interest in those 
whom it despised. In Shiraz the markets were 
decorated for the feasts of the unbelievers. 8 The 
yearly opening of the canal, which marked the 
beginning of the inundation of the Nile, took place 
on the feast of the Cross. 9 In Syria, Muslims 
recognized some of the Christian feasts and divided 
the year by them; Easter the time of Nawriiz, 
Pentecost the time of heat, Christmas the time of 

1 S.A.,2,3. a S.A., 2,35. ' T., Ill, 1389. 4 M., 2, 494. 
8 M., 1, 315 ; K., 215. M., 2, 265. T Ath., y. 319. 
8 Muk., 429. Muk., 206. 


cold, S. Barbara the time of rain, the Cross at the 
vintage, and S. George, otherwise called the feast 
of Lydda, at seed time. The feasts occur in popular 
proverbs, of which he gives examples. 'When 
the feast of Barbara comes, let the mason take his 
flute. When the kalends come, be warm and cosy.' 1 
On this feast, 1 January, the Christians light fires at 
night in the districts of Antioch, Syria, and Egypt, 
and many of the common people and of the upper 
classes help them in this. 2 

In 330 the feast of Immersion was celebrated 
with great splendour. Muhammad b. Tufj, the 
Ikhshldi, was in his palace on an island in the Nile, 
and had one thousand torches lighted round it. 
The populace also had lighted torches and candles, 
and thousands of Muslims and Christians were in 
boats, on the roofs, or on the banks of the river, 
wearing their richest clothes, with abundance of 
food and drink in vessels of gold and silver. That 
night the streets were not shut, and most of the 
people bathed. They believe that bathing on this 
night prevents illness. In 367 the observance of 
this feast was forbidden. In 388 it was celebrated 
under the presidency of Fahd b. Ibrahim, who sat 
on the river bank drinking till the time for bathing 
was due. In 401 it was again forbidden. In 415 it was 
celebrated in the presence of the caliph az Zahir. 
He forbade the Muslims to mix with the Christians 
during the bathing. Men brought fruit, sheep, and 
other kinds of food. Priests and monks were there 
with crosses and lights. At Christmas the churches 
'were filled with lights, and under the Fatimid 

1 Muk., 182. Mas., 3, 406. 


caliphs it was the custom to distribute presents 
among prominent government servants. In 381 
the caliph al 'Aziz forbade the people to visit the 
Banu Wail on the feast of the Cross, but they went 
out as usual to amuse themselves the next year. In 
402 al Hakim forbade the celebration of this feast, 
and stopped the people from adorning themselves 
and going near the churches. 1 

On Palm Sunday the Christians of Egypt were 
accustomed to decorate the churches and to carry 
palm fronds in procession ; al Hakim forbade this. 2 , 
In 403, the funeral of the wife of Abu Nasr b. 
Israel, a Christian official in Baghdad, was the 
occasion of a riot. The bier was carried out in day- 
time with crosses and lights, with priests and monks 
praying, and with women weeping and wailing in 
chorus. This annoyed a Muslim, who threw a stone 
at the bier, though the retainers of the emir Munasih 
surrounded it as guards. One of them smote the 
Muslim with his sword. Then there was a great 
riot and many were killed, both Christians and 
Muslims. Abu Nasr fled to the house of Munasih, 
but the disturbance continued till he was given up. 
Then he was taken to the palace of the caliph and 
imprisoned for a time. He was then released, to the 
delight of the Christians. 3 It is clear that the rela- 
tions between Munasih and his subordinate were 
friendly; he was his natural protector and he did 
not fail him. 

In or about the year 492 many Christian festivals 
in Egypt were stopped. 4 In 502, the Assassins 

* M., 1, 265 f., 494. M. t 2, 495. B.H., 205 ; A.M., II, 2, 124. 
4 M., 2, 496. 


captured the castle of Shaizar, while the garrison, 
which consisted of the Banu Munkidh, watched the 
Christians celebrate Easter. 1 Yakut, writing in the 
seventh century, says that non-Muslim rites were 
celebrated openly in Shiraz, speaks of festivals in 
connexion with several monasteries as if they were 
familiar spectacles, and of the inhabitants of the 
villages gathering to the show. 2 Considering the 
size of the churches in the hills above Mesopotamia, 
there can be no doubt that most of the celebrations 
were in the open air. He names four monasteries as 
the homes of four festivals during the * first fast ' in 
Baghdad, and says expressly that both Christians 
and merry-makers were present at one. 3 In the year 
664 dhimmis were forbidden to enter the tomb of 
Abraham at Hebron. 4 

Yakut implies a religious procession at Samnud 
when he says, ' On the feast the martyr is taken out 
in his coffin, which moves over the ground and none 
can stop it till it has immersed itself in the river, and 
then it returns to its place/ It looks as if someone had 
blundered, for a similar story is told of Shubra, near 
Cairo. The Christians think that the Nile will not 
rise unless a wooden casket, containing the finger of 
a saint, is thrown into it there. From all parts they 
come to this feast, riding on horses. All Cairo, in all 
its degrees, goes there, and they pitch tents on the 
river bank and elsewhere. Singers, musicians, 
professional entertainers, harlots, scamps, and 
scoundrels of all sorts go in crowds. Money is spent 
freely, and there are quarrels and murders. On wine 
alone more than 100,000 dirhams is spent, 5,000 

1 Ath., y. 502. 2 Y., 2, 641, 643, 658. 8 Y., 2, 660. 4 Q., 2, 27. 


dinars of that sum in gold. Once a Christian sold 
over 12,000 dirhams' worth. From the sale of wine 
the inhabitants of Shubra reckoned to pay their land 
tax. In 702 the government, at the instigation 
of Baibars, stopped this feast, much to the disgust of 
the Copts, both Christian and Muslim. Now Baibars 
had a secretary, Taj b. Sa'id ud Dawla, who was in 
his confidence and managed his affairs, as is the 
custom of the Turkish kings and emirs to have such 
Copts, whether Muslim or Christian. The Copts 
made this man try to persuade Baibars to change 
his mind, but without success. The feast was 
prohibited till 738, when it was started again by a 
whim of the sultan. In 755 the Muslims took the 
finger of the saint, burnt it, threw the ashes into the 
Nile, and abolished the feast. 1 

On Thursday in Easter week ten thousand small 
gold coins, to the value of five hundred dinars, were 
struck, and many of them were distributed among the 
king's courtiers. Once al Amir had double the 
number struck. On this day Christians sent presents 
to each other and to Muslims, of fish and lentils. 
The shops sold quantities of coloured eggs, with 
which slaves, boys, and the common people gambled. 
The day was known in Egypt as lentil Thursday, 
or egg Thursday, and in Syria as rice Thursday. 2 

In Khwarizm the feast of roses was celebrated 
on 4 May, when roses were offered in the churches 
in memory of those given by Mary to Elizabeth. 3 

Even as late as the time of the Samanids, fairs 
were held twice a year in Bukhara, when heathen 
idols (probably Buddhist) were sold. The demand 

1 M., 1, 78 ; 2, 500 ; Q., 4, 213. * M., 1, 266, 450. 3 Br. Ch., 296. 


was so great that 50,000 dirhams' worth were sold. 1 
At Akhmim, on Palm Sunday, the priests and 
deacons came out with censers and incense, 
crosses, the gospel, and lighted candles, and stood 
at the gate of the kadi's house, and then at those 
of the other Muslim notables. They burnt incense, 
read a portion of the gospel, and praised the master 
of the house. 2 

Churches were used for other than religious pur- 
poses. Official proclamations were made in them. 
A papyrus reads as follows : ' On receiving the 
present letter, therefore, collect the headmen and 
police of the places in your district, and read them 
the present letter, ordering them to write a copy of 
it to each place, in order that it may be read to the 
people of their own places and published in their 
churches.' 3 They were also used as lodgings, for 
several of the treaties stipulate that the churches 
are not to be used as dwellings. We have also 
seen that Shafe'i regards the erection of a church, 
as a rest house for travellers, as a legitimate form 
of charity. In Spain, the emir 'Abd ul 'Aziz 
married the widow of Roderick, and it is said that 
he lived with her in a church in Seville.* About 
320, Abu 'Amir b. Shahld spent a night in a 
church at Cordova. It was a bower of delight and 
sweet fellowship, for branches of myrtle were 
strewn on the floor, the sound of the nakus pleased 
the^ ear, the lamps shed a bright light, and the 
priest, wearing the zunnar as a neat girdle, came 
forward among the worshippers of the Messiah, 

1 Barthold, 107. M., 2, 517. B.M., 4, 1343, 1384. 

4 Mak., 1, 178. 


men who had fled from pleasure and thrown off all 
wealth. 1 In Spain the word nakus means bell. 

In 755, in Egypt, during a riot the tall houses 
of the Christians were one object of the mob's 
attention. 2 

Even in the time of Kalkashandi, who died in 821, 
some festivals were still celebrated more or less in 
public. The Jews placed lighted lamps at their 
doors at the feast of Dedication. 3 At Christmas, the 
Christians decorated the churches and illuminated 
them. At the feast of Baptism they immerse their 
children in the river, in spite of the cold. After it 
the heat begins, so that the proverb runs, * You 
baptize and begin the summer, you keep the Nawruz 
and begin the winter V On the feast of the Cross 
they lighted fires and threw water about ; low class 
Muslims joined with them in this game. The writer 
adds, c Often the spirit of frivolity makes them bold 
towards men in authority. If the authorities do not 
prevent it, they make the roads impassable. Still, if 
they catch anyone they do not let him go till he has 
satisfied them. This state of affairs lasted till 791. 
Now they no more light fires, except perhaps in 
private houses/ 5 

It is clear that the feast of the Cross had become 
a public holiday. One cannot always decide what 
was the purpose of the public appearances of 
Christians. Thus in the time of Mamun they met 
publicly on Palm Sunday, but there is nothing to 
show if it was for worship or amusement. 6 

To sum up : at quite an early date the Muslims 

1 Mak., 1, 345. M., 2, 499. Subh., 2, 428. 

* Subh., 2, 416. ' Subh., 2, 419. B.H. Mu., 239. 



disliked the public display of other forms of worship. 
The many prohibitions of this display prove that 
the covenant of 'Umar was either unknown or dis- 
regarded. 'Umar II and Mutawakkil tried to sup- 
press the commonest manifestations of Christianity 
but did not succeed. In the time of Harun it was 
felt that the right of the Christians to take out some 
religious processions was too ancient to be assailed, 
however great the annoyance of the Muslims. 
Normally, festivals were occasions of rejoicing in 
which all joined eagerly. However, the dhimmis 
were never safe from arbitrary acts of the ill-dis- 
posed, whether they were their rulers or fellow- 



ACCORDING to the covenant, 'Umar ordered the 
dhimmis to wear the zunnar, and forbade them to be 
like the Muslims in dress and the saddles they used. 
Abu Yusuf (f 182) ascribes these ordinances to 
'Umar, and Ibn 'Abd ul Hakam (f 257) states that 
he ordered the Christians to wear the girdle and to 
cut the hair short in front. The treaties given by 
Tabari and Baladhuri do not mention dress. If, as 
is argued by Caetani 1 in the case of Jerusalem, these 
treaties are later fabrications, the absence of any 
mention of dress makes one suspect even more 
strongly that 'Umar did not issue the commands. 

The object of the rules about dress was to 
distinguish the Christian from the Arab ; this is 
definitely stated by both Abu Yusuf and Ibn 'Abd 
ul Hakam, 2 two of the earliest writers whose works 
have come down to us. At the time of the conquest 
there was no need to command the Christians to 
dress differently from the Arabs ; they did so. It 
was only later, as the Arabs grew civilized, that there 
was any temptation for their subjects to imitate 
their costume. 

The historians do not often speak of the dress of 
the dhimmis, but a few details are given. The 
Christian poet al Akhtal wore silk, with a gold 
cross round his neck, and rode to the gate of a 

1 Caetani, y. 17, 175. * Kh., 72 ; Hakam, 151. 


mosque on a horse, 1 and in this guise he came into 
the presence of the caliph. He died in 95. In 89 
the Muslims came to terms with the Jarajima, who 
lived in the mountains of Syria. One of the condi- 
tions was that these people should wear Muslim 
dress. 2 In Egypt, when the Arabs wished to insult 
the patriarch Isaac, they threatened to put on him 
Jewish clothes, smear his face with ashes, and parade 
him through the town. 3 

'Umar II issued laws about dress. There are 
several accounts of his edict or edicts. According 
to that in the 'Ikd ul Parid, he forbade all dhimmis 
to wear turbans or to be like the Muslims in dress. 4 
Bar Hebraeus 5 says that he forbade Christians to 
wear the dress of soldiers, i.e. Arabs. Another 
Syriac author says that he forbade them to use rid- 
ing saddles on horses. 6 Abu Yusuf repeats the 
prohibition of riding saddles, and adds that their 
women must use a pack saddle when riding a 
camel. He gives further details about clothes. 
'Umar II forbade them to wear the kuba (the short 
Persian jacket), silk garments, and a special kind 
of cloak, "isb; he complained that they omitted to 
wear the girdle, did wear turbans, and let their 
hair grow long. 7 According to Ibn 'Asakir, he 
forbade them to appear in public unless they had cut 
the hair on the forehead short and wore girdles of 
leather. He forbade the kuba, the tailasan (a veil 
thrown over the turban), trousers of some special 
cut (datu khadama), sandals with straps, and riding 
saddles. 8 It is recorded that the Banu Tha'laba 9 

1 Agh., 7, 169, 178. a B., 161. * S., 118. * V., 2, 339. 

B.H., 117. S.A., 1, 307. T Kh., 73. 

8 I.A., 1, 180 ; Umar, 166. Must., 1, 125. 

DRESS 117 

came to him and said they were Christians, and asked 
what they were to do. He sent for a barber, cut the 
hair on their foreheads, cut strips from their mantles 
to make girdles, and told them to use only pack 
saddles and to ride sideways. In 216 the pagans 
of Harran still wore the kuba and long hair. 1 

It is worth noting that Abu Yusuf, in reporting 
the edict of 'Umar II, and Ibn 'Abd ul Hakam, do 
not use the word zunnar \ they use the word mintak. 
In describing the ordinances of 'Umar I, Abu Yusuf 
uses zunnar, but in the plural zunnarat, instead of 
the broken plural zananlr, which afterwards became 
common. He seems not to quote the exact words of 
'Umar II, but to use his own terms. Later on, a gar- 
ment called mintak was forbidden to the dhimmis by 
Mutawakkil. It is clear that the word zunnar was 
only slowly appropriated to the girdle that was the 
distinctive mark of the Jew and Christian. The 
word is Greek, came into Arabic probably through 
Aramaic, and finally became so identified with the 
dhimmis that in modern Arabic it denotes the Jew's 
lovelocks, the corners of the head which he is 
forbidden to shave. 

By the time of the caliph Harun it was expected 
that they would wear a thick cord as a girdle, a 
quilted (mudarraba) kalansuwa (a tall cap), twisted 
thongs on the sandals, and shoes different from 
those of the Muslims. Their saddles had to have 
two wooden balls as big as pomegranates on the 
back, and the women had to use pack saddles when 
riding on camels. 2 Some of these rules may have 
been fifty years old, for about 130 the bishops in 

1 Fih., 320. * Kh., 72. 


Egypt wore the kalansuwa? During the fighting 
in Egypt that led to the death of Marwan and the 
fall of his dynasty, the Abbasid soldiery advised the 
Christians to display the cross on their foreheads, 
clothes, and houses. 2 In 191, Harun forbade the 
Christians to be like the Muslims in dress and 
manner of riding. 3 

During the caliphate of Mamun a Christian 
named Bukam was headman of Bura, in Egypt. 
On Fridays he wore black, girded on the sword 
and belt (mintaka), rode on a palfrey to the mosque 
with his officers about him. He stopped at the gate, 
and his deputy, a Muslim, entered and led the 
prayers. 4 The historian remarks that this was 
nothing unusual. Here the mintak> or mintaka^ 
appears to be part of the official uniform. 

In 236 came the first edict of Mutawakkil ; it 
runs as follows: Christians had to wear honey- 
coloured, i.e. yellow, cloaks, and two buttons on 
their caps, which differed in colour from those worn 
by Muslims. They might use only wooden stirrups 
and saddles, marked by two balls behind. Their 
slaves 5 had to wear two patches on the outer garment, 
one in front and one behind, of a different colour 
from the rest of the garment. The patches were 
yellow, and four fingers square. Hence Christians 
were called spotted. 6 If anyone wore a turban it 
had to be yellow. They had also to wear the zunnar 
round the waist. When Hunain was excommunicat- 

1 S., 173. 3 S., 195. * T., IH, 713. * Eut., 2, 434. 
8 T., Ill, 1389 ; M., 2, 494 ; B.H., 155. T. and B.H. read, ' slaves ' ; 
M., ' men '. 

6 Jahiz B., 1, 41. 

DRESS 119 

ed he took off his zunnar? Makrizi adds that a 
woman had to wear a yellow wrapper when she went 
out of doors. The mintak was forbidden. Three 
years later, in 239, the caliph ordered the Christians 
to wear two yellow durra'a over the durrd'a or 
kuba, and forbade them to ride horses. (The durra'a 
is a long coat of wool, open in front.) 2 

Working backwards, we see that Mutawakkil 
gave precise orders about the clothes Christians had 
to wear ; Harun commanded them to be unlike 
Muslims in dress; and 'Umar II forbade them to 
copy the Muslims. The edicts grew steadily more 
severe. Had 'Umar I any share in this legislation? 
Probably, no. There was no need to fix a distinctive 
dress for the dhimmis in his days ; there is no hint 
that these laws existed before 'Umar II, and several 
that they did not. In any circumstances, such 
laws might easily have been attributed to the 
traditional organizer of the Muslim state, and this 
was made easier by the fact that another 'Umar was 
the author of some of them. Abu Yusuf is the first 
to ascribe them to 'Umar I, and before he wrote 
there was plenty of time for the legend to grow up. 

In Spain the Jews wore yellow and were never 
allowed to wear turbans. 3 About the year 400 priests 
there wore the zunnar* Otherwise, Mutawakkil's 
laws shared the fate of so many oriental plans. In 
271 or 272 the inhabitants of Baghdad made a riot 
against the Christians, because they rode on horses. 5 
In the next century, Mukaddasi reports that the 
Magians, in Shiraz, do not wear the ghiyar and the 

1 B.H. Mu., 252. ' T., Ill, 1419. 8 Mak., 1, 137. 

4 Mak., 1, 345. Elias, 68. 


Christians wear the tailasan? Strictly, ghiyar means 
the patched garment, but it is often used for the 

Christian dress is next heard of in the reign of 
the mad caliph of Egypt, al Hakim (386-411). He 
ordered non-Muslims to wear black, presumably 
because it was the colour of the Abbasids, his rivals. 
He made Christians wear crosses, and Jews bull's 
heads, in memory of what they had worshipped in 
the wilderness. Their saddles had to be plain, with 
stirrups of sycamore wood and reins of black 
leather. They might not wear rings on the right 
hand. If they transgressed any of these rules they 
were punished with banishment. Some denied 
their faith, many went into exile. Those who stayed 
in Egypt and true to their religion, wore crosses 
of gold or silver and made themselves saddles with 
richly coloured trappings. Then al Hakim ordered 
the crosses to be of wood, five rolls in weight, and 
made the Jews wear billets of wood of the same weight, 
shaped like the clapper of a bell. When they went 
to the baths, Christians had to wear their crosses 
and Jews bells. 2 Later he set apart for them special 
baths. He forbade Jewesses and Christian women 
to wear Arabian shoes, and made them wear boots 
with legs (sarmuz), one red and one black. 3 These 
laws remained in force for nine years. 4 

In 484, while Abu Shuja 4 , surnamed Rablb ud 
Dawla, was vizier of the caliph in Baghdad, orders 
were issued that dhimmis, especially the dignitaries, 

1 Muk., 429. 

1 M., 2, 495 ; B.H., 204 ; A.M., II, 2, 64 ; lyas, 1, 52 ; Husn, 2, 168. 

Ghazi, 395. * A.S., 142. 

DRESS 121 

must put on the ghiyar and wear what 'Umar had 
ordered. 1 

In 515 the Seljuk sultan, Mahmud, forced the 
dhimmis in Baghdad to wear the ghiyar. Negotia- 
tions took place, and it was agreed that they should 
pay the sultan 20,000 dinars and the caliph 4,000. 
Presumably they escaped the hated badge. 2 

After he had captured Mosul, Nur ud Dm Zanji 
ordered the Christians to wear the zunndr, and 
forbade them to use saddles when riding on horses 
or mules. In Egypt, Asad ud Din Shirkuh, as 
lieutenant of Nur ud Din, enforced the same laws ; 
indeed he forbade Christians to ride on horses or 
mules. Michael, the Syrian, ascribes the enforce- 
ment of these rules to Saladin. It is reported that 
when Nur ud Din left Mosul no one paid any atten- 
tion to his laws. In Egypt, Saladin certainly had 
Christian officials, and probably did not enforce the 
laws about dress. 3 

The general laws were never repealed, but were 
usually disregarded unless the zeal of some ruler, or 
an outburst of popular feeling, caused them to be 
put in force again. In 682 the wearing of the zun- 
nar was again enforced in Egypt. 4 In addition, no 
Christian was permitted to wear red r> clothes. A 
pedestrian might not speak to a mounted Muslim, 
and Christians had to use donkeys for riding. In 
the month of Sha'ban 700, the Jews, in Egypt and 
Syria, were compelled to wear yellow turbans, the 
Christians blue, and the Samaritans red. They were 

1 Ath., y. 484 ; Bundari, 78. Ath.,y.515. 

1 S.A., 2, 166, 168 ; Lang., 328. 4 M., 2, 497. 
Either red, or made of fine cloth. Cf , L.A., 13, 404. 


bidden to observe the treaty of 'Umar. These rules 
were still enforced in the time of Suyuti. A poet 

They wondered at the Christians, Jews, and Samaritans, 

when they put on rags as turbans. 
It was as if a vulture of the sky had spent the night in 

dye vats ; and in the morning coloured cloths were 

on top of them. 

On this occasion the enforcement of these laws 
was due to a visitor to Egypt, who was disgusted by 
the pomp displayed by a Christian. He rode on 
horseback, with footmen in front and attendants 
behind, while poor Muslims crowded round and 
kissed his feet. Indeed many, if not most, of the 
outbreaks of popular feeling were due to the lack of 
restraint shown by Christians and Jews when they 
gained wealth and power. Many Christians were 
too proud to wear the blue turban, and tried to get 
exemption through the protection of the emirs. So 
public proclamation was made that any Christian 
wearing a white turban was to forfeit property and 
life. In another place it is said that the wearing by 
them of Muslim dress was forbidden, under the 
same penalties. So strong was the feeling against 
them that he who wanted to walk abroad borrowed 
a yellow turban from a Jew. Nevertheless, in 
Shobek and Kerak Christians were allowed to wear 
white turbans, because only few Muslims lived in 
those towns. 1 

In 704 it was suggested to the vizier that dhimmis 
might be allowed to wear white turbans with badges, 
as they had offered to the treasury 700,000 above 

1 M., 2, 498 ; Husn, 2, 178 ; Q., 4, 180. 

DRESS 123 

the poll-tax. Owing to the opposition of Ibn 
Taimiya, the proposal was not accepted. In 734 
Baghdad copied Egypt in making dhimmis wear 
blue and yellow. 1 In 755, in Egypt, Christian 
women were made to wear blue wrappers, Jewesses 
yellow, and Samaritan women red. 2 

The Mustatraf quotes a list of dress regulations 
approved by the school of Shafe'i ; it seems to be a 
product of historical study, not a record of what 
happened. Here they are. Non-Muslims must differ 
from Muslims in dress, wearing red caps, girdles 
round the waist, seals of copper or lead round the 
neck, or a bell when they go to the bath. They must 
not wear turbans or long coats. Women must wear 
girdles under (some say over) the skirt, a seal round 
the neck when they go to the bath, one shoe black 
and one white. On horses, mules, and donkeys they 
may use only pack saddles, riding sideways. Riding 
saddles are forbidden. 3 

The statement made by Juynboll, that blue was 
the colour of the ghiyar for Christians, yellow for 
Jews, and black or red for Magians, is evidently 
incorrect as a general rule. 4 Yellow was at first the 
the colour for all dhimmis^ and differentiation came 

These sumptuary laws were able to adapt them- 
selves to circumstances, for in Persia, a few years 
back, the Zoroastrians dressed in yellow and were 
not allowed to wear socks. 5 

The statement made above, that dhimmis had to 

1 Husn, 2, 179. * Husn, 2, 180. 8 p. 1, 125. 

* Juynboll, Handbuch des islamischen Geselzes,3S2n. 
5 Browne, Year among the Persians (ed. 1),370. 


wear a seal on the neck always, is an exaggeration. 
The facts are these. Tradition says that 'Umar 
sent two men, 'Uthman b. Hunaif and Hudhaifa, to 
Irak to assess the tribute, and they sealed the necks 
of the dhimmis. This was first done in Khanikin. 1 
In another place it is said that 'Uthman sealed the 
necks of 550,000 dhimmis. It is not definitely 
stated, but it is implied that the sealing was con- 
nected with the payment of tribute. Then 'Umar 
ordered 'Amr to seal the necks of the people of 
Egypt. 2 Without other evidence, one would imagine 
that the seals had to be worn always. But Abu 
Yusuf says that they were only used at the collection 
of tribute. His words are, 'It was right that their 
necks should be sealed at the time of collecting the 
tribute (fizya), till the presentation of them be 
finished. Then the seals are broken, as did 
'Uthman b. Hunaif when they asked to have them 
broken.' a Seals of the years 240 and 287 are 
figured in Rainer. 4 Now it is curious that an 
anonymous Syriac chronicle names two governors, 
Maslama, the brother of the caliph Walid, and Musa 
b. Mus'ab, in the time of Mansur, who put seals of 
lead on men's necks ; thus suggesting that this 
practice was the exception and not the rule. 5 
Severus, in his History of the Patriarchs, mentions 
this seal once, but only in connexion with another 
badge. 6 

The Arabs do not bear the shame of inventing 
this custom, for it was known to the Byzantines. In 
the year A.D. 500, * after the governor Demos- 

1 B., 271. Hakam, 151. Kh. t 72 ; cf. 21. 4 Rainer, 672. 
S.A., 1, 299, 340. S., 145 

DRESS 125 

thenes had gone up to the emperor, he informed 
him of this calamity ; and the emperor gave him no 
small sum of money to distribute among the poor. 
And when he came back from his presence to 
Edessa, he sealed many of them on their necks 
with leaden seals, and gave each of them a pound of 
bread a day.' 1 

Other badges were sometimes enforced. In the 
reign of Sulaiman (96-99), Usama b. Zaid counted 
the monks in Egypt, and put on the left wrist of 
each an iron ring, marked with the name of his 
church and monastery and the Muslim date, but 
not the cross. If he found one running away he 
had him hamstrung, so that he was permanently 
lame. Many had their beards shaved, their eyes 
put out, or were put to death. Later he inspected 
the monasteries, and found many monks without 
badges. Some he beheaded and some died under 
the lash. 2 In the reign of Hisham, Hanzala b. 
Safwan put a lead seal on the necks of all persons 
between the ages of twelve and a hundred, and 
recorded them in registers. He put a badge, in the 
shape of a lion, on the hands of all Christians ; with- 
out it no one could buy or sell. If any was found 
without it his hand was cut off and he was heavily 
fined? 3 This last statement about the seal and the 
registers invites criticism. It is notorious that the 
government kept full lists of all taxpayers, so there 
is no point in saying that a governor kept such 
lists unless something very drastic is meant, which 
would have been worth describing in full. 

1 Joshua Stylites, 37. S., 142 f. ; M., 2, 492. S., 145 ; M., 2, 493. 



Another word for the special dress of the dhimmi 
is kastaja. This is Persian in origin, wandered to 
Syriac, and probably from it to Arabic. In Persian 
it means a girdle. In Syriac it seems to mean 
something other than the zunnar, for Bar Hebraeus 
says, * none shall be seen abroad without the kastaja 
and zunnar\* In Arabic it is sometimes the same 
as zunriar, for ' they shall tie the kastaja round their 
waists '. 2 Bustani gives two forms, kastaja and 
kustlj, and says that it was a cord, as thick as a 
finger, worn under the zunnar of silk. I do not 
know where he got his information ; it contradicts 
the definitions given above. 

A prisoner who was paraded through the streets 
of Baghdad wore the kalansuwa? This cap seems 
to have been peculiar to the dhimmis, so the wear- 
ing of it may have been an insult. But this is not 
certain, for such prisoners often wore the durrcta* 
which was part of the dress of a gentleman. 

1 RH., 215. 2 Suli, 215. Ibn 1 Mu'tazz, poem on Mu'tadid, 1, 359. 


THE soldiers of Sa'd b. abl Wakkas killed many 
monks and ascetics in Mount Marda, especially in the 
great and famous monastery called ' The Daughters 
of Five Churches', on the hill of Ras ul 'Ain. The 
killing of Christians is also recorded at the Abbasid 
capture of Damascus and during the fighting 
against Marwan in Egypt. 1 Evidently the killing 
of Christians was something out of the ordinary, 
which deserved special mention. These three cases 
all happened in time of war. 

The patriarch John of Samnud was accused of 
being too proud to wait upon the governor. At 
first the Arabs wanted to fine him one hundred 
thousand dinars, but this sum was reduced to ten 
thousand. He was persuaded by the secretaries 
who ruled in Alexandria to pay this, for they 
promised to collect it from the bishops, secretaries, 
and government offices. 2 Al Asbagh, the son of 
'Abd ul 'Aziz, made the bishops pay two thousand 
dinars yearly, apart from the tax on their estates. 8 
When Athanasius returned to *Abd ul Malik, in 
Damascus, he was robbed of all he had gained. 4 The 
patriarch Alexander came into the presence of 
'Abdulla b. 'Abd ul Malik, the governor of Egypt, 
who asked, * Who is this ? ' They said, * The father 
and patriarch of all Christians.' He said to one of 

1 S.A., 1, 245, 331 ; S., 193, S., 116. S., 134. * S., 135. 


his chamberlains, humiliate him as you please til 
he pays three thousand dinars/ The patriarch was 
made to tour the country to collect the money foi 
the governor. Most of it came from the bishops. 
When Alexander went to pay his respects to Kurn 
b. Shuraik he was made to pay a like sum, foi 
Kurra said, ( If you have to sell your flesh you musi 
pay three thousand dinars/ While he was collecting 
the money, four jars of buried treasure were founc 
and given to his household. The governmenl 
heard of it, seized the treasure and also all vessels 
of silver and gold, books, and animals in his estab 
lishment. He was put in prison for seven days 
and forced to promise three thousand dinars. Al 
the end of two years he had paid one thousand, 
The monks who had secreted part of the treasure 
began to spend it on fine clothes and slave girls, bu 
were soon caught by the Arabs and forced tc 
explain how they had got the money. 2 

In the time of Hajjaj several important Christians 
were put to death by Muhammad b. Marwan and 
their houses plundered. Mardanshah of Nisibis and 
his son, Simeon of Khaluja, and Anastasius ol 
Edessa were among these killed. 3 

The Chalcedonian bishop of Damascus was 
denounced to Walld as having blasphemed the 
Prophet. His tongue was cut out and he was 
banished to Yemen. 4 About 160, a Christian in 
Egypt said, ' Poor Muhammad, he says that you 
will be in paradise. Is he now in paradise? Poor 
man ! What he has will not help him if dogs eat his 

1 S., 136 ; M., 2, 492, says ' 6,000 '. a S., 137 f. 8 S.A., 1, 294. 
S.A., 1, 314. 


legs. Had he been burnt in fire, men would not 
have been troubled with him/ The kadi appealed 
to Malik b. Anas, who gave his opinion that the 
man should lose his head. He was executed. 1 

Walid also tried to force the Christians to abjure 
their faith, and many were killed in the churches. 2 
In return for a bribe of one thousand dinars, Kurra 
allowed a Chalcedonian patriarch to be installed in 
Alexandria. Makrlzi reports the appointment of a 
patriarch there in 107, at the suggestion of the 
emperor accompanied by a present to Hisham. 3 
Severus mentions a fine of one thousand dinars on 
a bishop, 4 and says that a governor, whom he calls 
Abu 1 Kasim, made Ibrahim, the bishop of Fayyum, 
give him three hundred dinars. He said to him, ' I 
will do you this great honour, I will make my wife 
your daughter, whatever you give her will honour 
her.' He gave her a hundred dinars, and it was 
counted part of the tribute which he had to pay. 5 

'Abd ul Malik b. Rifa'a (governor of Egypt, 96- 
99 and 109) caused all arrears of tribute to be paid. 
He summoned the patriarch Michael to his palace, 
asked as tribute a sum that he could not pay, and 
then put him in prison, with a block of wood tied to 
his feet and a heavy collar round his neck. He was 
in a cell hollowed out of the rock, with no window, 
and stayed there from Tut 11 till Baba 12, thirty-one 
days. When a governor complained that the whole 
church paid no tribute, the patriarch asked leave to 
go to Upper Egypt to collect what he could. 7 Kawthar 
seized the patriarch, asked from him much money 

1 K., 382. a Lang., 250. 8 S., 141 ; M., 2, 493. * S., 146. 
S., 154. S., 173. T S., 175. 


which he could not pay, and put him in prison, with 
iron balls tied to his sacred feet. He was also beaten, 
two hundred blows with a stick. Kosmas, the Melkite 
patriarch, was also imprisoned, but he escaped by 
paying one thousand dinars. 1 These things happen- 
ed after Marwan, the last Abbasid caliph, had fled to 
Egypt. About this time 'Amran b. Muhammad 
tried to take possession of the monastery of Beth 
'Abhe and its lands. The abbot frightened him 
away by sheer force of personality, and accused him 
of having killed many Christians and seized their 
houses. Later 'Amran sent his private assassins to 
kill the abbot. 2 It is said that Mahdi found more than 
twelve thousand Christians in Aleppo ; annoyed, he 
bade them choose between apostasy and death. Seven 
thousand were put to death. 3 This may be another 
version of the massacre of the Zindiks. 4 Between 
206 and 238 the Christians were persecuted in 
Toledo. The story is told at length by Dozy, in 
Spanish Islam. The cause of this persecution was 
the obstinacy of the Christians and their desire for 
martyrdom ; the Muslims can hardly be blamed. 5 

Ahmad b. Tulun levied a forced loan of twenty 
thousand dinars on the Christians. To pay it the 
patriarch sold church lands. He also sold to the 
Jews a church in the castle of Shama', the property 
of the churches in Alexandria, and the herds of 
camels of the monastery of Macarius. 6 

Further east, al Baridi in 321 attacked the Jews, 
who were the chief merchants in Tustar, shamefully 
ill-treated them, and took from them one hundred 

1 S., 184. a Thomas, 1, 239. 8 Lang., 262. 4 T., HI, 499. 
P. 268. M., 2, 494 ; A.S., 136. 


thousand dinars. 1 In 361 the vizier squeezed money 
out of the dhimmis and then from the Muslims. 
Prayers were said against him in the churches, 
synagogues, and big mosques. 2 In 369 there was a 
serious riot in Shiraz, between Muslims and Magians, 
in which many of the latter were killed and their 
houses burnt. 'Adud ud Dawla punished all the 
guilty severely. 3 In 386 Baha ud Dawla asked a loan 
from a Jew. It was refused, so he seized a number 
of Jews, extorted money from them and punished 
them. 4 In 392 the catholicus was arrested and ill- 
treated, presumably to extract money. 5 The catho- 
licus of Jerusalem and the patriarch of Antioch 
were forced to use their influence with the emperor 
to secure good treatment for Muslim captives. 6 In 
421 there was a riot between Sunna and Shi' a in 
Baghdad. The houses of some Jews were burnt 
because they were suspected of helping the inhabi- 
tants of the suburb of Karkh. 7 In 398 al Hakim 
confiscated the property of the churches and monas- 
teries throughout his dominions, both in Syria 
and Egypt. 8 Isolated cases of the sequestration of 
church property are mentioned. During the reign 
of al Amir (523-543), in Egypt, the government 
took a garden belonging to a church. The shaikh 
Sani'at ul Mulk bought this estate and devoted it to 
the use of the church. It is not clear whether this 
happened before or after the sequestration. 9 Another 
garden was taken from the church of al Martuti. 10 
When the Kurds invaded Egypt they took the 

* Eel., 1, 257. 2 Eel., 2, 308, 3 Ath., y. 369. Eel., 3, 282. 

8 Eel., 3, 456. a Nish., 31. 7 Ath., y. 421, 8 M., 2, 286, 495. 

A.S., 114. 10 A.S., 138. 


gardens and other endowments of the monastery 
near Assiut. 1 

Benjamin of Tudela tells of a Jew who tried to 
start a rebellion. The Head of the Diaspora gave 
the king of Persia one hundred talents, and thus 
persuaded him not to punish the Jews for the deeds 
of their countryman. 2 Christians were killed and 
their houses plundered in Damascus, and in 658 they 
were compelled to pay one hundred and fifty 
thousand dirhams to Muzaffar Kutuz, after the 
defeat of the Mongols at 'Ain Jalut. 3 

In 663 the quarter named Batiliyat was burnt, at 
a time when there were many fires in Cairo and 
Misr. The Christians were suspected, and Baibars 
made preparations to burn them. Paris ud Dm 
interceded for them, and proposed that they should 
pay fifty thousand dinars damages. Crowds gathered 
to see the show, and the Christians and Jews were 
brought forward. A banker, named Ibn ul Kaziruni, 
asked that he and the other Jews might not be burnt 
with ' these cursed dogs, your enemies and ours '. 
The sultan laughed, and the affair was arranged for 
a sum of money, the payment to be spread over 
a series of years. Finally, after some time the 
payment of the remaining balance was cancelled. 4 
Makrizi believed the tale of arson, and put it down 
to Christian disappointment at Muslim victories. 

During the confusion following the sack of Bagh- 
dad, Malik Salih, of Mosul, received a letter advising 
him to throw over the Mongols and come to Egypt. 
The letter was stolen, and the thief, to safeguard 

1 A.S., 250. 3 Benj., 75. 8 M., 2, 497. 

* M., 2, 8 ; Q., 2, 16, has ' 500,000 '. 


himself, spread the rumour that Malik Salih was 
about to massacre the Christians and flee to Egypt. 
Those who could took refuge in Arbela. Salih 
feared that his secret was betrayed to the Mongols, 
and went to Syria. But some of his followers turned 
back half-way, captured Mosul, and killed those 
Christians who would not turn Muslim. Many 
priests and deacons abjured their faith. In the 
district the Kurds killed many, among them those 
who had taken refuge in the monastery of Beth 
Kudida. They also attacked the monastery of Mar 
Mattai, but after some fighting, in which the abbot 
lost an eye, they were bought off. 1 It is obvious 
that the tale, told by the man who stole the letter, 
would not have been so readily believed if massacres 
of Christians had been quite unknown. Saif ud 
Dm, the brother of Malik Salih and lord of Jazirat 
ibn 'Umar, also extorted money from his Christian 
subjects. 2 

'Abd ul Mumin, the Almohade sovereign, gave to 
his Jewish and Christian subjects the choice between 
Islam and exile. This was the reason why Maimo- 
nides came to Egypt. 3 

This record shows the Muslim rulers in an 
unfavourable light. It must be remembered that 
they were arbitrary and often cruel in their behav- 
iour to their co-religionists. Their Christian subjects 
were not much worse off than their Muslim. Still, 
it is not surprising that disaffected Christians joined 
the ranks of the Karmathians. 4 

1 B.H., 516. 2 B.H., 518. 3 Kifti., 317. * 'Arib., 10. 



Towards the end of the first century the Egyp- 
tian peasants began to desert their holdings in 
large numbers, probably because of the heavy 
taxation. The government tried to stop this move- 
ment by following up the fugitives, as they were 
called, and keeping lists of them. Anyone shelter- 
ing a fugitive was fined five dinars, and the 
headman, officials, and police of the place seem 
to have been fined the same sum. The man himself 
was fined five dinars, given forty lashes, put in a 
wooden yoke, and sent to the governor. Informers 
received two dinars a head. 1 The papyrus 1460, in 
its imperfect state, contains a list of more than a 
hundred and eighty fugitives, apparently from one 
district alone. 

Between 81 and 86 the governor ordered to 
collect from all the land those of twenty years and 
under (apparently this phrase refers to length of 
residence and not to age), so they went and gathered 
them. Those in charge of this business were 'Asim, 
Yazid, and their colleagues. They marked on the 
hands and foreheads the strangers whom they found, 
and sent them to places that were strange to them. 2 
Kurra adopted a different policy. ' Men with their 
wives and children fled from place to place ; but no 
place sheltered them from the weight of calamities 
and the demands for tribute. 'Abd ul 'Aziz, from 
Sakha, was put in charge of this business. He 
gathered the fugitives from every place, bound them, 
and brought them back to their homes.' 8 Usama 

1 B.M.,4, 1384. 2 S., 136. S., 140. 


b. Zaid started a system of passports, and ordered 
that every Christian found without one was to 
be fined five dinars. 1 He was very strict. He 
gave orders that wherever a traveller, or a man 
moving from place to place, or a boat ascending or 
descending the river, was found without a passport, 
the man should be arrested, the boat and its cargo 
confiscated, and the boat burnt. If they caught 
Greeks on the sea (river?) they took them to the 
governor, and some were killed, some impaled, and 
some mutilated. So the roads were deserted, there 
were no travellers, and none to buy or sell. Grapes 
diminished in quantity and none were found to buy 
them, even for a dirham, as the owners had to wait a 
month or two at the governor's gate to get a permit. 
If a passport was eaten by a mouse, fell into the 
water, or was damaged in any way, the holder was 
fined five dinars and was given another. 

A widow got a passport for her son and herself 
and went from Alexandria to a riverside village, as 
she hoped he would find work to keep them alive. 
The son went to the river to drink, and a crocodile 
took him and the passport, while the mother looked 
on and wept. When she got back to Alexandria 
she told the governor what had happened. He 
showed her no mercy, but put her in prison until 
she paid ten dinars for losing her passport and 
entering the city without one. She sold her clothes 
and all that she had, and went about begging till 
she paid the sum, 2 

1 M., 2, 493. S., 142. 



Change of religion was a bar to inheritance. 
Tradition finds the historical origin of this rule 
in a decision of 'Umar I. Al Ash'ath asked that 
the property of his childless aunt, who had mar- 
ried a Jew, might be given to him. The caliph 
refused. 1 So if the child of a dhimmi turned Muslim 
it lost its share of the father's property, and, if it 
was a girl, the father could not give her in 
marriage. 2 

When a dhimmi turned Muslim he surrendered 
his real property. This was important because of 
its bearing on taxation. Where tribute was levied 
collectively where a fixed sum was paid by the 
community and they distributed the burden among 
themselves as they thought right a dhimmi who 
became a Muslim had to abandon his house and land 
to the community, but kept his personal property. 
Where tribute was levied on the individual the land 
of the convert became the property of the state. 
Another opinion was that it reverted to the state 
only if the convert had no heir. 3 

Shafe'i held that a dhimmi who was converted 
to another protected religion had to be banished, 
because the protection accorded to him ceased 
with his change of religion. 4 

1 I.R., 205. a Mud., 4, 259. 8 Hakam, 154 ; M., 1, 77. * Umm, 4, 10J 



MUSLIM tradition insists strongly that the con- 
quered peoples were to be treated kindly, or at least 
justly. The Prophet said, * If anyone wrong a man 
to whom a treaty has been granted, or burdens him 
above his strength, I am an advocate against him till 
the day of judgment/ 1 Abu Bakr said, * Do not kill 
any of the protected people, for if you do God will 
require the protection of them from you and will 
cast you on your faces in hell/ 2 When the troops 
started for Syria he is said to have given these com- 
mands, ' When you enter that country, kill neither 
old man, nor little child, nor woman. Do not pull 
down a pillar saint from his place. Do not injure 
the monks, for they have set themselves apart to 
worship God. Do not cut down a tree nor uproot 
a plant. Do not rip up any ox, cow, or sheep. If a 
province or people receive you, make an agreement 
with them and keep your promise. Let them be 
governed by their laws and established customs, and 
take tribute from them as is agreed between you. 
Leave them in their religion and their land.' 3 

Various tales are told about 'Umar to illustrate 
his tenderness for the dhimmis. On his way back 
from Syria, he passed by some men who had been 
stood in the sun with oil poured over their heads 
(to attract the flies). He asked questions, and was 

1 Kh., 71. a Ibn Sa'd, III, 1, 137. 8 S.A., 1, 240. 


told that they were liable for tribute, had not paid it, 
and were punished till they should. Their excuse 
was that they were too poor to pay. 'Umar said, 
' Let them go, do not annoy them.* 1 Again he passed 
a house where an old blind man was begging. He 
touched him on the arm from behind, and said, * To 
which of the people of the book do you belong ? ' 
He said that he was a Jew, and begged to provide 
for his daily needs and food and to pay the tribute. 
'Umar took him by the hand, led him to his 
own house, gave him something from it, and 
then sent him to the keeper of the treasury with 
this message, * See to this man and his like, for 
we have not done right if we devour their youth 
and neglect their old age. The religious tax is 
for the poor and needy. The poor are the Mus- 
lims; this man is one of the needy of the people 
of the book/ He freed him from the obliga- 
tion to pay tribute. 2 It is hard to reconcile this 
story with the fact that the blind did not pay tribute. 
Perhaps it is aetiological, and is meant to explain 
why they did not pay. He is said to have given 
these instructions about the adherents of the protect- 
ed religions. ' Make it easy for him who cannot 
pay the tribute ; help him who is weak. Let them 
keep their names, but do not give them our kunyas. 
Humiliate them, but do them no injustice. If you 
meet them on the road make them go to the side/ 3 
In his dying charge to his successor he said, ' I 
charge the caliph after me to be kind to the dhimmis^ 
to keep their covenant, to protect them, and not to 
burden them above their strength.' 4 There is some 

1 Kh., 71. Kh., 71. LA., 1, 178. 4 Yahya, 54. 


Christian evidence to support this view. 'Ishoyahbh, 
who was patriarch from A.D. 647 to 657, writes, ' The 
Arabs, to whom God gave the dominion over the 
world, behave to us as you know. They are not 
hostile to Christianity, but praise our religion, 
honour the priests and saints, and help the churches 
and monasteries/ 1 The agreement made by 'Isho- 
yahbh with the Arabs seems to have been quite 
favourable to the Christians. It was stipulated that 
they should be protected from their foes ; that they 
should not be compelled to fight for the Arabs; 
that they might keep their manners and laws ; 
that the tax on the poor should not exceed four zuze 
(dirhams) and that on merchants and the wealthy 
should be twelve ; and that a Christian woman in 
the service should not be forced to give up her 
religion nor to neglect prayer and fasting. 2 

On the other hand, there are signs that the 
Muslims were not altogether easy in their minds 
about the position of the subject peoples, for there 
is too much insistence on the moderation of 'Umar. 
A tradition, found in several places, tells that two 
men were appointed to survey the taxes in Lower 
Mesopotamia: 'Uthman b. Hunaif in the Euphrates 
district, and Hudhaifa b. Yaman to the west of the 
Tigris. 'Umar asked if they had not laid on the 
land more than it could bear. 'Uthman replied, * I 
have laid on the land what it can bear ; had I 
chosen, I could have doubled (the tribute on) my 
land/ Hudhaifa said, ' I imposed on it what it can 
bear, and there is a great surplus in it.' But during 
the rule of 'Ali, Tha'laba b. Yazld is reported to 

1 Thomas, 2, 156. a B.H. Eccl., 3, 118. 


have said, ' I will never go back to Irak because of 
the misery one sees there/ 1 

In the early days the Arabs were long-suffering, 
for again and again we read of towns that capitulat- 
ed on terms, rebelled, were captured, and the 
original treaty re-imposed. 2 

No historian thought of writing a social history, 
so the facts have to be gathered from scattered 

Agatho, the patriarch of Alexandria from 39 to 
56, used to buy Byzantine prisoners of war and set 
them free. 3 Maslama, the governor of Egypt from 
47 to 62, sent seven bishops on a judicial commis- 
sion to Sakha, to try certain prisoners whom it was 
proposed to burn. 4 

Certain priests and sorcerers had plotted to 
poison the patriarch. When 'Abd ul 'Aziz heard 
of it he ordered them to be burnt. The patriarch 
interceded for the priests, so they were let off, but 
the sorcerers were burnt. 5 Al Akhtal, the Christian 
poet, was a familiar figure at the court of 'Abd ul 
Malik. Without permission he came into the pre- 
sence of the caliph wearing a silk jubba, an amulet, a 
gold cross hanging from his neck on a gold chain, 
and his beard dripping wine. When he acted as arbi- 
trator for the tribe of Bakr b. Wail he went into a 
mosque and they came before him. 6 He lampooned 
al Jahhaf, who said, * Son of a Christian woman, I did 
not think that you would be so daring towards one 
like me/ Al Akhtal was hot with fear, so the caliph 
said, ' I am your protector.' He replied, ' Granted 

1 Kh., 21. 2 E.g. B., 116, 147. S., 112. 4 S., 114. 
6 S., 125. a Agh.,7, 169 f. 


that you are my guard while you are awake, who 
will protect me against him while you sleep?* 1 
Though some Arabs felt contempt for Christians, 
that did not prevent al Akhtal from acting towards 
the caliph as impudently as any Muslim poet. 
Earlier 'Uthman had made much of the other 
Christian poet, Abu Zubaid, and had given him a 
seat beside his own. One of the charges against 
Walld b. 'Ukba was his friendship for this man 
and its consequences. 2 Once when al Asbagh visited 
his father, 'Abd ul 4 Aziz, he found Christians sitting 
in the audience hall, and, though it happened to be 
Easter, it is probable that they were present 
regularly. 3 It was the duty of the patriarch, along 
with the government officials, to pay his respects to 
a new governor, and it seems that his presence was 
frequently required. 4 'Umar II stopped women, 
presumably Christian, from going to the public 
baths. 5 

Some governors were extravagant in their friend- 
ship for Christians. Severus tells this story : 'Abu 
1 Kasim loved Anba Masis above all the bishops, 
and used to show him his young concubines in my 
presence that he might bless them. He said, 
"These are your children, lay your hands on them 
and give them your most efficacious blessing."* 6 
To Ibrahim, the bishop of the Fayyum, he said, ' I 
will do you this great honour; I will make my wife 
your daughter.' 7 The historian spoils the effect, by 
adding that the governor had the mind of a child. 
Hassan, who was governor in 127, loved the 

1 Mubarrad, 287. 2 Agh., 4, 180. 11, 23. 8 S., 124. 
4 S., 121, 135, 137. K., 69. S., 153. ' S., 154. 


churches, bishops, and monks, and used to talk with 
the patriarch about affairs of state and the salvation 
of his soul. 1 

The Melkites asked that the church of Abu Mlna, 
in Mareotis, might be given back to them, and, as the 
Copts resisted the claim, a meeting was held in the 
governor's palace. When some men from Upper 
Egypt heard that one Constantine was a Melkite 
they sprang on him, dragged him outside, and 
wished to kill him. The bishops threw their cloaks 
over him and saved him. Severus continues, ' One 
jumped up, abused me, and blasphemed the holy 
Trinity. I and all present saw his robe torn into 
three pieces, whereupon all in the palace, Muslims, 
Christians, and heretics, cried, " There is no God but 
the God of the Christians, no faith but that of the 
patriarch Michael." ' Many were wounded in the 
throng. 2 There is no hint that any of the brawlers 
were punished. 

Sometimes the dhimmis were treated as if they 
had equal rights with the Muslims. When 'Abdulla 
b. Sa'd b. abl Sarh (25-35) made a treaty with the 
Nubians, one of the contracting parties is called * the 
Muslims, non-Muslims and the protected peoples \ 
and the Nubians bound themselves to protect 'the 
Muslims and dhimmis travelling in Nubia'. 3 The 
Khawarij were more friendly to the dhimmis than the 
orthodox Muslims, and they are blamed because they 
argued wrongly, did not follow the agreed opinion 
of the companions of the Prophet, but treated Arab 
towns like foreign towns, and let the dhimmis parade 
their religion. 4 But the criminal found no mercy. 

* S., 165. * S., 166-71. 8 M., 1, 200. ' Kh., 33. 


One of the tales about 'Umar is that he heard how 
a Nabataean of Syria had thrown a woman off her 
horse and outraged her. He commanded the man 
to be impaled, and said, ' Not for this did we grant 
them terms/ l A good statement of the principles 
which guided the Arab government is contained in 
the rescript found among the Aphrodite papyri. 
Unfortunately it has been damaged : 

* ... fearing God and preserving justice and 
equity in the assessment of the quota apportioned by 
them in accordance with . . . and caused the over- 
seer with four other notable persons in your district 
to [assist ?] them in the said assessment. And when 
they have finished this, send to us a register con- 
taining particulars as to the amount assigned to 
each person among them, showing us in it the name 
and patronymic and place of residence of those who 
assessed the said fine. And let it not come to our 
knowledge that you have in any respect at all cheat- 
ed the people of your district in the matter of the fine 
distributed by you, or that you have shown any 
preference or antipathy at all to anyone in the assess- 
ment of the said fine. For we know that the persons 
who are to assess it will certainly not disobey in any 
instructions given them by you, and if you find that 
they have assessed anyone too lightly through 
partiality, or too heavily through antipathy, we shall 
requite them both in their persons and in their estates 
by God's command. Therefore, exhort and warn 
them about this, and also (tell them) not to assess any 
of the officials beyond his means, even if he is at a 
distance from them and does not join them in the 

1 Kh., 100. 


assessment of the said fine, but to treat each with 
justice as aforesaid, and assess him according to his 
means ; and cause the assessors of the said fine 
first of all to make a written agreement, in which 
they declare that if they are proved, after the assess- 
ment, to have assigned to anyone an apportionment 
beyond his means and to have assessed another too 
lightly that they themselves in equal shares will 
make up the deficiency caused through the person 
too heavily burdened in their assignment, and will 
be liable besides to severe punishment for their dis- 
obedience and disregard of our command ; and the 
said agreement send to us with the register of the 
quota assessed for the fine upon each person/ * 

Nevertheless the Copts were not contented ; the 
number of revolts shows this clearly. They took 
place as under : 

107 in the Delta. 321 Upper Egypt. 

132 Samnud. 135 Samnud. 

150 Sakha. 156 Balhib. 

211 Lower Egypt. 

In 216 there was more trouble, and the fighting 
men were killed and the women and children en- 
slaved. 2 c From then on God made the Copts of 
little account in all the land of Egypt, and destroyed 
their power. They could no longer rebel nor stand 
against the might of the governor. Muslims also 
got possession of the country towns. The Copts then 
employed trickery against Islam and those who pro- 
fessed it, and did harm as they made their influence 
felt by those who kept the records of the land tax/ 8 

Conditions were especially bad in Tinnls. 'In 

1 B.M., 4, 1345. K M 73, 81, 94, 102, 116, 119, 190, 192. 

M., 1, 79 ; 2, 494. 


the days of 'Abdulla,' says the patriarch Dionysius, 
4 we saw in the land of Egypt at Tinnls, and the 
inhabitants told us, a shameful thing. This place is 
wholly Christian and very populous, but they are 
in dire poverty. When we asked how they came to 
this sore poverty they told us. Water surrounds 
us on every side, we have no fields, no agriculture, 
we cannot keep cattle ; the water we drink is 
brought from a distance, and scarcely do we drink 
it but at a price, a dirham for four jars. Our trade 
is linen ; the women spin it on spindles and we 
weave it into cloth. Each day we earn as wages, 
from the merchants who own the material, half a 
dirham. Our labour scarcely suffices for our food. 
When they levy the taxes they impose five dinars 
on each house, and we are oppressed and cast into 
prison. In our misery we give our households as 
pledges, even our sons and daughters, that they 
may work in slavery. Should it happen that a 
man's wife or daughter bears them a child, they 
make us testify that we will not go to law with them 
about this. What is worse, before the time for 
redeeming the wife or daughter comes, there are 
the taxes of the next year, and we take on these 
pledges further dinars. Thus our sons and our 
daughters remain slaves of the Arabs all the time.' 
The patriarch told this to 'Abdulla ; he had pity on 
them, and by the mediation of the patriarch gave 
order that there should be a poll-tax on the men 
and they should pay twenty-two dirhams, as is the 
law in Mesopotamia. 1 In 439 the taxes in Tinnls 
amounted to a thousand dinars a day. 2 

1 S. A., 2, 17. Sefernameh, 37 ; cf. Muk., 213. 



There were, however, rich Christians in Egypt. 
Even if the following story did not actually happen, 
something like it must have been possible. When 
Mamun made a progress through the towns of 
Egypt, in each a platform was made and a tent 
pitched for him on it with his guard round about, 
and he stayed there for a day and a night. He passed 
one, Ta un Namal, but did not enter it as it was 
unimportant. When he had gone on, an old woman, 
called Maria the Copt, the owner of the town, came 
out and called to him. He thought her a suppliant 
for justice and waited for her. He never travelled 
without interpreters, and one of them explained that 
the woman said, ' O Commander of the Faithful, you 
have halted in every other town and have passed by 
mine ; therefore the Copts will mock me. I beg 
the Commander of the Faithful to honour me by 
alighting in my town, to exalt me and my descen- 
dants, that my enemies may not exult over me.' 
Then she wept bitterly. Mamun had compassion 
on her, turned his horse towards the town and 
dismounted. Her son came to the chief cook, and 
asked how much he usually wanted of sheep, fowls, 
capons, fish, spices, sugar, honey, perfumes, wax, 
fruit, fodder, etc. He provided much more than was 
asked. With Mamun were his brother, Mu'tasim, 
his son, 'Abbas, the sons of his brother, Wathik, 
Mutawakkil, Yahya b. Aktam, and the kadi, Ahmad 
b. Daud. The woman provided for each one's wants 
separately, and none had to supply the other, and 
the same with the officers. She gave Mamun a great 
quantity of the finest tasty food, so that he thought it 
extraordinary. Next morning, when he was ready to 


go, she came forward with ten girls carrying trays. 
As he saw her far off the caliph said to those about 
him, * The Copt has brought a rustic gift, spices, 
herbs, and wormwood.' But as she placed the trays 
before him there was on each a purse of gold. 1 

An agent of Yazld b. Muhallab sold a ruby to a 
Jew of Khorasan for thirty thousand dirhams. After 
the sale was concluded the Jew said that he would 
have given fifty thousand willingly, and when he 
saw the seller's disappointment he gave him a 
further hundred dinars. 2 Sometimes the Muslims 
played low tricks on their fellow subjects. Bukam, 
the headman of Bura, in Egypt, offered to build a 
new mosque if he were allowed to destroy the old 
one. The Muslims agreed, but when the new was 
completed they went back on their word, saying, 
4 Our religion does not permit us to destroy a 
mosque wherein we have prayed/ 3 It may be noted 
that when Saladin built the walls of Cairo he pulled 
down mosques to make room for them. 4 

About this time opinions differed about the 
treatment of the dhimmis. The author of the Book 
of the Land Tax could say in his address to the 
caliph Harun, 'It is right that you should order the 
protected people to be treated with kindness, that 
no injury should be done them, that they should not 
be burdened above their strength, and that none of 
their goods should be taken except according to 
law.' 5 But these pious wishes are capable of widely 
differing interpretations. Yahya says that he who 
cannot pay the poll-tax is given relief, and also he 

1 M., 1, 81. 2 Agh., 15, 18. 3 Eut., 2, 434. 4 M., 2, 203. 
8 Kh.,71. 


who cannot pay the land tax/ But in the Kitab ul 
Umm it is stated that if a dhimmi is poor the ruler 
is one of his creditors, and cannot spend money 
from the treasury on a poor dhimmi? 

Muslims did look down on the dhimmis, as this 
story shows. Ya'kub b. Ishak of Kinda, a Jew, was 
the most prominent philosopher and physician of 
his age and a favoured attendant of Mamun. One 
day he came into the presence of the caliph and 
took a seat higher than that of a leading Muslim, 
who said, 'Why do you, a Jew, sit above the 
scholars of Islam ? ' Ya'kub answered, c Because 
I know what you know ; and you do not know what 
I know/ 3 

Mustansir (350-366) sat in his audience hall, with 
the chiefs of the protected Christians in Andalus 
around him, among them Walld b. Khaizuran, the 
kadi of the Christians in Cordova, and 'Ubaidulla b. 
Kasim, the metropolitan of Toledo. 4 In 379 a Jew 
was governor of Slraf. 5 Another influential Jew 
was Ibn 'Allan, who farmed the taxes of Basra. 
When his wife died all Basra, except the kadi, fol- 
lowed the bier. The sultan borrowed one hundred 
thousand dinars from him, and he paid the same 
sum and one hundred horses to Khamaratakin for 
the taxes of Basra. Khamaratakin and Kuharain 
had him murdered when he was living under the 
protection of Nizam ul Mulk. After the murder, 
Nizam ul Mulk shut himself up in his house for 
three days, and the sultan had to cajole him into 
appearing in public. 6 

1 P. 9. 2 Umm, 4, 102. Ch.M., 55. 4 Mak., 1, 252. 

Ed., 3, 150. Ath,, y. 472. 


We hear of the easy circumstances and great 
expenditure of the Copts in their houses, while at the 
government office they wore the poorest clothes, 
ate the coarsest food, and rode on donkeys. ' At 
home they changed from one state to another, and 
passed from non-existence to existence.' * Mustansir 
gave a robe of honour to Sarur ul Jallal, who 
restored the Church of George in Cairo. 2 Chris- 
tians took some part in the social life of the Muslims. 
At Ishna, at weddings and other rejoicings of the 
Muslims, the Christians were present, chanted in the 
Sahidic dialect of Coptic, and walked before the 
bridegroom through the bazaars and streets. This 
was a recognized custom, and continued to the time 
of the writer. 3 

The Muslims did not hold entirely aloof from the 
protected religions. A building in Bethlehem was 
set apart as a mosque, and 'Umar made the Chris- 
tians promise to provide lights in it, keep it in repair, 
and clean it. 4 The monasteries were often popular 
with the Muslims, for in many cases the situation 
made them pleasant places for picnics. To that of 
Kusair the people of Cairo went from time to time 
to refresh themselves. That of Khanafls, in Meso- 
potamia, was favoured, for it was high above the 
villages and looked down on the rivers and meadows. 
It is recorded that Saif ud Dawla seldom passed 
that of Mart Marutha without stopping. Wine, the 
forbidden, was one of the attractions. In the convent 
of the Virgins were taverns. The poets tell that 
wine and women were among the charms. 

4 How often have I been awakened in the dark 

1 Subh., 4, 43. * A.S., 88. A.S., 278. * Y, 


night for my morning draught by the voices of the 
monks reciting the prayers loudly, clad in black, 
girt about the waist with the zunnar, with crowns of 
hair on their heads/ Ibn ul Mu'tazz. (f 296. ) l 

' When I have completed a full year, go with me to 
the vineyards of Awana, and find me a drinking 
place in the monastery at 'Alth ; perchance I shall 
make friends with the monks. Fair girls reading a 
book of the gospel attend mass in the morning. 
They wear skins, but God made them slender 
underneath; shamefaced till the cup goes round, 
when they discover throat and body/ Jahza ul 
Barmaki. (f 326. ) 2 

'Drink to the sound of the nakus\ says another 

Sometimes Muslims ill repaid the hospitality of 
the monasteries. Some men took refuge in the 
Convent of the Virgins, and, when the danger was 
past, they bound the priest and violated the nuns. 3 
During the disturbances that accompanied the fall 
of the Umayyads, a band of freebooters attacked a 
nunnery in Egypt. One of the nuns was a remark- 
ably beautiful girl, who had taken the vows at the age 
of three. The men wondered what to do with her, 
whether to cast lots for her or to take her to the 
caliph. She told them that she had inherited from 
her soldier forefathers an ointment that made a man 
invulnerable, ' against him iron became as wax '. 
She offered them to let them make trial of it on her, 
and if she spoke the truth they were to let her go. 
She anointed herself with holy oil, knelt down, and 
told the strongest man with the sharpest sword to 

* Y., 2, 678 ; cf. I.H., 140 ; Agh., 8, 178. * Y., 2, 681. Y. 


strike. He struck, and cut off her head. Then they 
understood what had been in her mind, left the 
other nuns, and went away praising God. Makrlzi 
tells much the same story, but without the last two 
words. 1 

Some monasteries were rich ; Mar Sim'an, near 
Damascus, is said to have had a revenue of four 
hundred thousand dinars. 2 

Pleasure was not the only object in visiting these 
places. In the monastery of Mimas, between Damas- 
cus and Hims, the saint was reputed to heal the sick. 
The poet Batm was ill, so he was brought to the 
saint to be cured. He thought that the monks 
neglected him, so he micturated before the tomb of 
the saint. Later he chanced to die and it was 
reported that the saint had killed him. The 
populace went to destroy the monastery, saying, 
1 Shall a Christian kill a Muslim ? We will not 
be satisfied unless you give us the bones of the 
saint to burn/ A Christian bribed the governor 
of Hims to drive away the crowd. Excursions 
were also made to a place beside the monastery of 
Barsuma, near Malatia. Here even Muslims used 
to make vows. Yakut tells of a merchant who paid 
such a vow after a successful business journey. 
The monastery paid ten thousand dinars yearly to 
the emperor from the proceeds of these vows. 3 
Benjamin of Tudela says that the chiefs of the 
Muslims prayed at the tomb of Ezekiel because of 
the love they bore him. 4 He also says that the tomb 
of Daniel was in Khuzistan, in a town that was 
divided into two parts by a river. Each half of the 

1 S., 185 ; M., 2, 493, Y. Y. * Benj., 63. 


town was anxious to keep the body of the prophet, 
so it stayed for a year in each half alternately. 
Both Jews and Muslims accompanied it when it was 
carried over the river from one side to the other. 1 

Sometimes Christians obtained great influence ; 
due in part to force of character, and in part perhaps 
to superstition. When the boat in which Mar 
Kuriakos was travelling arrived at the castle of the 
Hebrews, and passed along the side of it which 
faces the east, the believers of Mosul sent and 
stopped it in its course, giving the owner of the 
boat much money to stop it, and crowds upon 
crowds of Christians and Arabs came forth to see 
that blessed man and to be blessed by him (c. 136). 2 
In Egypt, when the patriarch Michael anointed 
with oil the lunatic daughter of an official named 
*Isa, and prayed over her, the devil left her. 8 The 
wife of Mansiir bore a child in response to the 
prayers of the bishop Isaac at least, so the Chris- 
tians said so when Mansur became caliph he made 
him patriarch. 4 

When the danger of a low Nile had been removed 
by the prayers of the Christians, Abu 'Aun did good 
to them and their churches and made the kharaj 
lighter. 5 When Ahmad b. Tulun was dying he 
ordered the people to pray for him. They prayed in 
the mosque of Mahmud, on the flank of Mukattam, 
and the Jews and Christians were there also, stand- 
ing apart from the Muslims. They did the same on 
the next day, when women and children were present, 
and continued doing so till he died. 6 When Timur- 

1 Benj., 70. * Thomas, 1, 246. ' S., 179. 4 S., 205. 

S., 200. K., 231. 


tash, the Ortokid lord of Mardin, was ill and the doc- 
tors could not help him, he had recourse to the 
prayers of the Christians, and sent to the convent of 
Mar Barsama for the right hand of the saint. He 
saw a man shining in light, who said to him, ' The 
Christians have sent me to take you from death.' 
He was healed on the spot. He did much to make 
the lot of the Christians easier and granted favours 
to the churches of Nisibis, Mardin, Mayafarekln, Ras 
'Ain, Dara, and other places in his dominion. 1 

Non-Muslim birth never prevented a man from 
winning a high religious position among the 
Muslims. To take two examples : Ma'ruf of Karkh, 
who died in 200, an ascetic and worker of wonders, 
was the son of a Christian, 2 and Hasan b. 'Abdulla 
b. al Marzaban Sairafi, the kadi, was the son of a 
Magian. He died in 368. 3 

In one respect some Christians had a bad reputa- 
tion. Ahmad b. 'Ali Razi ' was even dirtier than 
the monks '.* 

Once, at any rate, Christians preferred Muslim 
rule to Christian. 

Philardus, an Armenian in the pay of Constanti- 
nople (Ibn ul Athir calls him Firdaus), captured 
Antioch from the Muslims, appointed a Persian 
named Ismail governor, and marched away. When 
Sulaiman, the son of that Kutulmish who was killed 
near Constantinople, heard that Philardus had gone, 
he prepared ships, for he had just conquered 
Antartus and Tarsus, and attacked Antioch from 
the side of the hills, the Persian governor helping 

1 Lang., 312. Abu 1 Fida, y. 200. 8 A.M., II, 2, 23. 

4 A.M., II, 2, 28. 


him. He captured the Church of Kusyan, and seized 
all the furniture, and vessels of gold and silver, and 
the deposits of the townsmen, a great sum. He 
turned the church into a mosque. He proclaimed 
peace in the town, stopped the slaughter, prevented 
the Turks from entering the houses of the Christians, 
and from taking their daughters even for marriage. 
He did not let them remove from Antioch any of 
the plunder of the town, but made them sell it there 
at cheap rates. He pleased the townsmen, and the 
governor surrendered to him the citadel. The 
inhabitants preferred him to Philardus, who was 
nominally a Christian. This capture of Antioch 
took place in 47 7. * 

To insult a Muslim by calling him a Jew, Chris- 
tian, Magian, or idolater was a punishable offence. 2 

1 B.H., 257 f. Mud., 4, 396. 


IT is well known that under the caliphs many of 
the physicians were Jews or Christians. It is not the 
purpose of this book to give a detailed history of 
them and what they did ; that belongs to the history 
of science. Our concern is with their relations to 
their rulers and fellow subjects. 1 

A historian says that in the reign of Mu'awia 
many people died of poison, and goes on to tell in 
detail how Ibn Uthal, a Christian physician, poisoned 
'Abd ur Rahman b. Khalid at the order of the caliph, 
leaving his readers to draw their own conclusions. 
Another Christian, Abu 1 Hakam, attended Yazld 
as doctor when he led the pilgrimage. 2 

Khaslb, a native of Basra, was summoned to treat 
the governor of the town, who was the son of the 
caliph, as Saffah. The patient died, so the doctor 
was arrested on suspicion and put in prison, where 
he died. 3 

Jurjis b. Bukhtishu' lived at Jundeshapur, where 
he worked in a hospital, which he seems to have 
regarded as his private property. The caliph 
Mansur fell ill, and, as none of the Baghdad doctors 
could cure him, he sent for Jurjis. When he came 
into the presence, he offered prayers for the caliph 
in both Persian and Arabic in very polished langu- 

1 Facts in this section are from Tabak., unless other references are 

Agh., 15, 13. a Agh., 13, 95. 


age, so that the caliph was surprised and made him 
sit. Some time after the caliph noticed that Jurjis' 
health was suffering. Thinking that this was due 
to the lack of wine, which he was accustomed to 
drink, he had some brought from Kutrubbul for 
him. On a Christmas Day Jurjis had an audience 
with Mansiir, who asked him, ' What do you eat? ' 
He said, 'All good things, as the Lord pleases.' 
The caliph said, * I hear that you have no wife.' 
He replied, * I have an old bedridden wife.' The 
caliph waited till he had gone, and ordered Salim, 
the chief eunuch, to choose three beautiful Greek 
slave girls and take them to the physician, with 
three thousand dinars. Jurjis was not at his house 
when they arrived, but when he came home he said to 
his pupil, ' Servant of Satan, why did you let them 
into my house ? Do you wish to defile me ? ' He 
called the eunuch, and sent the girls with him back to 
the caliph. When Mansur heard this, he asked him 
why he had sent the girls back. He answered, * We 
Christians do not have more than one wife. So long 
as one of us has a wife living, our law forbids him to 
take another. 1 This pleased the caliph, so he gave 
orders that the physician should go in to his wives 
and concubines without hindrance. He gave him 
increased honour and loved him as himself. 1 It is 
said of Bukhtishu* b. Jibrail also, that the caliphs 
trusted him to visit their concubines. 2 Rashld called 
in Masaweih to attend his sister. The doctor insist- 
ed on seeing the patient, and was allowed to see and 
touch her in the presence of her brother. Naturally 
these men often had great influence. Rashld said of 

1 Cf. B.H., 125. Fih., 296, 


Jibrail b. Bukhtishu*, * Let all who have petitions 
to bring to me speak to Jibrail, for I answer every 
request and fulfil every desire which he brings to 
me/ Sometimes they abused their position. 'Isa 
b. Shahla followed Jurjis b. Bukhtishu* in the 
service of Mansur. He stretched out his hand 
against the metropolitans and bishops, to take their 
wealth for himself. He even wrote to the metro- 
politan of Nisibis, asking for some of the church 
vessels, which were worth a big sum, threatening 
him if he delayed. In his letter were the words, 
1 Do you not know that the kingdom is in 
my hand ? If I choose I make it sick, and if I 
choose I make it well/ The metropolitan con- 
trived to put the letter in the hands of the vizier, 
who gave it to the caliph. He confiscated the 
property of 'Isa and banished him. 1 A new doctor 
might expect to have his knowledge tested or to 
have tricks played on him. When Bukhtishu' b. 
Jibrail first came to Baghdad, the caliph sent to 
him the water of an ox, and told him* it was the 
water of one of his wives. The doctor was not 

Jibrail b. Bukhtishu' was also famous as a doctor, 
and served Rashld. A girl whom the caliph loved 
suffered from a stiff arm, and the physicians 
exhausted themselves in preparing ointments and 
modes of treatment, but did her no good. Rashld 
summoned Jibrail and told him what had happened. 
He said, * I can treat her if you will bring her into 
the audience hall before the whole court. I will do 
what seems good to me ; only be not hasty and 

1 Tabak., 1, 125. The father's name is also given as Shulafa. 


angry.' The caliph agreed and sent for her. As 
soon as he saw her, Jibrail ran to her and took hold 
of her trousers, as if he wished to uncover her 
nakedness. From excess of shame the girl grew 
hot and sweated, her limbs relaxed, she moved the 
stiff arm, and took hold of her trousers, shielding 
herself. Jibrail left her instantly, and said to the 
caliph, * Now she is cured/ The girl moved her 
arm to right and left, to the amazement of the caliph 
and all who were present. 

His salary was twelve thousand dirhams monthly. 
Mamun imprisoned him and confiscated his goods, 
because he had tended Amm, but later restored him 
to favour and gave to him more than had been taken 
from him. In the time of Rashld, a salary of a thousand 
dirhams monthly, with an allowance of twenty 
thousand a year and provisions, was paid to Masaweih. 
Jibrail received ten thousand a month, an allowance 
of a hundred thousand a year, besides regular gifts 
and estates. 

Muslim writers are generous in recognizing the 
merit of these men who did not follow their religion. 
Hunain, who lived in the time of Mamun, is called 
the leader of his day in medicine. Hibatulla b. 
Tilmidh was 'the Hippocrates of his age and the 
Galen of his day '. Ibn Khallikan wonders that a 
man of his intelligence did not accept Islam. His 
contemporary, Abu 1 Barakat Hibatulla, the Jew* 
was called the ' solitaire of the age '. 

Even Mutawakkil could not dispense with these 
sectarian doctors. Hunain wore the zunnar. Bukh- 
tishu' b. Jibrail stood high in the caliph's favour, 
so much so that he had the same clothes, respect. 


wealth, horses, slaves, and slave girls as he had. 
One day, as the doctor sat beside the caliph wearing 
a robe of Greek atlas, Mutawakkil noticed that the 
robe was slightly torn. He kept him in talk, and 
made the tear bigger till it reached the sleeve. The 
doctor, however, saw what he was doing. The talk 
was of mad men, and the caliph asked, * When do 
you admit that a mad man needs chains ? * The 
answer was, ' When the mad man tears the garment 
of his doctor to the sleeve, then we know that he 
needs chains/ The caliph laughed till he fell on his 
side. Nevertheless, the caliph came to envy him, 
and confiscated all his goods. It is said that he had 
him flogged, one hundred and fifty lashes, laid in 
fetters and imprisoned. Another story is that 
Bukhtishu* was banished to Bahrain. 1 

The account of an entertainment given by him to 
Mutawakkil is in the best style of the Arabian 
Nights. He brought up all the thermantidotes 
(screens that were wetted to cool the air) in the 
capital, so that every place in his house where the 
caliph could pass might be cool. He used to sit in 
an ebony carriage, and came from the palace with a 
thousand men in attendance. From evening till 
midnight he indulged in all manner of orgies, then 
he rose to pray, surrounded by black eunuchs, of 
whom he was fond. After prayer he sat down to 
conversation, read the gospel till morning, and then 
went to the palace. He disobeyed the law of the 
church, and took two wives at once. It is said that 
every night he spent five hundred dinars on candles, 
ointments, and perfumes. When all was taken from 

1 T.,III, 1437,1447 


him, the wood, coal, and wine in his house were sold 
for six thousand dinars. The purchaser sold it 
again for twelve thousand. 1 

When Salamaweih was ill, Mu'tasim sent his son 
to visit him, and when he died had the funeral 
service celebrated in the palace, with candles and 
incense in his presence, after the manner of the 
Christians. The caliph also fasted for a day. 

Sinan, the Sabian, was appointed by Muktadir to 
examine all who wished to practise medicine, and 
without his leave none could act as doctors. One 
day an elegantly dressed old doctor came to him. 
Sinan rose and went forward to greet him. When 
he wished to examine him and find out what was the 
matter, the old man pulled out a purse, holding a 
large sum in gold, and said, * Sir, believe me, I can- 
not write my name and have not studied, but I have 
a big family, and they live by my practice. I beseech 
you, do not take from me the bread that God 
gives.' Sinan laughed, and told him that he would 
permit him to practise if he would agree not to 
approach dangerous cases, not to open an artery, 
and not to use purgatives. The old man promised 
to use only oxymel, and drugs like it. The next day 
a fashionable young doctor came to him, and Sinan 
asked under whom he had studied. He replied, 
'Under my father, who came to you yesterday.' 
Sinan laughed, and imposed on him the same 
conditions as on the father. 2 

Hibatulla b. Tilmidh was very grave, and in all 
his intercourse with Muktafi was only once known 
to make a joke. A sinecure in the ' House of 

1 B.H., 157. 2 B.H., 175. 


Bottles' had been taken from him by the vizier, with- 
out the caliph's knowledge. At the end of a visit 
the old man found great difficulty in standing up, 
so the caliph asked what was the matter. 'My 
bottles are broken.' Now this was a slang phrase, 
used in Baghdad, to denote old age. Muktafi was 
so struck at this piece of slang on the lips of the 
dignified old gentleman that he made enquiries and 
restored to him his sinecure. When he died, in 
560, the whole of Baghdad attended the funeral. 1 

The physicians sometimes suffered through palace 
intrigues. The famous doctor and excellent physician 
Amln ud Dawla Abu 1 Karam Sa'id b. Toma, a Jaco- 
bite of Baghdad, was killed on Thursday, 28 Jumada 
1,618. He was skilled in healing, trustworthy in his 
deeds, wise, generous, a good mediator in supplying 
the needs of the poor, answering their requests, and 
visiting them. The caliph Nasir loved, respected, 
and honoured him, and entrusted to him the treat- 
ment of his kingdom, his sons, his daughters, and 
his wives. At the end of his life the caliph's 
eyes grew weak, so that he could not see to write 
confidential letters to the vizier. He found a woman 
in Baghdad, named Sitt Naslm, whose writing could 
not be distinguished from that of the caliph. He 
took her into the palace, told her his secrets, and 
whenever he wanted to write she wrote at his 
dictation. The vizier thought that her letters were 
in the caliph's own hand, for he concealed his blind- 
ness. This lasted some time. Then a certain 
eunuch, Taj ud Din Rashlk, made an agreement 
with her, and they wrote what they chose when the 

1 I. Khali. 



caliph dictated, and their orders were carried out. 
One day the vizier, Muayyid ud Dm, wrote to the 
caliph, and received a confused and disordered reply, 
and therefore felt doubtful about it, and made secret 
enquiry from Amm ud Dawla. He told him of the 
caliph's blindness, of the woman whose writing was 
like his, of the eunuch Rashik who was in league 
with her, and the letters they wrote as they chose 
without the caliph's knowledge. The vizier began 
to disregard the orders sent him. The woman and 
eunuch were angry with Amln ud Dawla for 
betraying them, because he was the only one to 
meet and speak with the vizier who knew their 
secret. They suborned two brothers, the sons of 
Kamar ud Dm, who lay in wait for the doctor one 
night as he left the palace to go to his house, sprang 
on him, and stabbed him twice with daggers. When 
he saw them, he cried out, * Seize them, they are so 
and so.' These evil men heard him, came back and 
finished him, and wounded also the servant with 
him who carried the lantern. The city and palace 
were roused, and the dead man was carried to his 
house and buried there. Nine months later they 
took him to the Church of Mar Thomas, and buried 
him with his fathers. On the night in which he was 
killed, those two wicked murderers were taken, 
disembowelled, and impaled on the spot where they 
had killed him. 1 

It was not only the Muslims who travelled- 
Ya'kub b. Saklan, of Jerusalem, who died in 626, 
was doctor to al 'Adil b. Ayyub. Later he was 
taken to Damascus, where he prospered. Towards 

1 B.H., 449 f. 


the end of his life he was crippled by gout, so al Malik 
ul Mu'azzam sent a litter to fetch him when he 
needed his professional attentions. 1 About the year 
570, two Jews, Jehuda and his son Samuel, migrated 
from the west. Samuel went to Adherbaijan, and 
became physician to the house of Pahlawan. After- 
wards he turned Muslim. 2 Yiisuf b. Yahya b. Ishak, 
of Fez, fled from his home when *Abd ul Mumin 
persecuted the Jews and Christians, went to Egypt, 
and then to Aleppo. From there he travelled in 
Irak and India. On his return he had a big practice 
and was a close friend of al Kifti, the author of the 
History of Learned Men. He died a Jew in 623. 3 

Yuhanna b. Masaweih served the caliphs from 
Rashld to Mutawakkil, and was always present at 
their meal times. He was enough of a favourite 
with Mutawakkil to be allowed to chaff him mildly. 
He could also make jokes at the expense of Islam, 
jokes recorded by Muslim writers. To a priest who 
suffered from indigestion, and had tried all the 
remedies the doctor could recommend, he said, 
4 Turn Muslim ; this is good for the digestion.' 
When 'Isa b. Ibrahim b. Nuh, the secretary of al 
Path b. 1 Khakan turned Muslim, Yuhanna came 
home from the palace to find some monks in his 
house, and said to them, * Get out of my house, 
children of sin. Turn Muslim, for the Messiah has 
just turned Muslim/ of the wealth and influence which these 
men attained, Muslims felt that they belonged to a 
lower class. This comes out very clearly in the 
following incident. Under orders from the vizier> 

1 B.H. Mu,, 443. B.H. Mu., 377. Kifti, 392. 


Sinan b. Thabit sent a travelling dispensary round 
Irak. The doctors found that Sura and Nahr Malik 
were inhabited mainly by Jews, so asked whether 
they should work there or go to some place where 
the people were Muslims. Sinan knew that the 
hospitals in Baghdad treated both Muslims and 
dhimmis^ but asked for instructions from the vizier, 
who sent this order : ' We agree that the treatment 
of dhimmis and animals is right, but men must be 
treated before animals, and Muslims before dhimmis. 
If anything is left over which Muslims do not need, 
let it be used on the class below them.' 1 

It may be mentioned that Bukhtishu' b. Jibrail 
endowed the monastery where his father was buried. 2 

Doctors sometimes quarrelled. Jurjis, who was 
named the Philosopher on the same principle that 
the crow is called Father of Whiteness, wrote verses 
on Salama b. Rahmun, the Jew : 

What is good weighs light in the scales of Abu 1 Khair, for 

he is ignorant. 
By his bad luck his poor patient is in a shoreless ocean of 

To him come three at once the doctor's face, the bier, and 

the washer of the dead. 8 


During the first and second centuries relations 
between the Arabs and their subjects in the 
sphere of letters and arts were very friendly, and 
even in later times much of the old friendliness 
endured. It has been pointed out elsewhere that 
the government employed non-Muslims as engineers 
and architects. One may add here that Kuseir 

1 Kifti, 194. * Kifti, 142. B.H. Mu., 348. 


'Amra, a hunting lodge of an Umayyad prince, 
was decorated by painters who knew no Arabic. 
Religion made no difference to the treatment of 
poets and musicians by the great. Hunain, the 
Christian singer of Hlra, was an intimate friend of 
Bishr b. Marwan, and an article of six pages is 
devoted to him in the Kitab ul Aghani^ Barsauma, 
the flute player, often performed before Harun 
Rashld. As he is called a Nabataean and his name 
is Aramaic, it is almost certain that he was a 
Christian. 2 The poet Abu Zubaid was treated with 
courtesy by 'Uthman, 3 verses by the Jewish poet 
Abu Zannad were set to music by Ibn Mashaj abu 
1 Uthman Sa'id. 4 

In the whole of Arabic literature there is only 
one dhimmi who has a great reputation among 
Muslims, and he is the poet al Akhtal. He with 
Sarjun and Kasim b. Tawil ul 'Ibadi were com- 
panions of Yazid in his amusements. 5 Al Akhtal 
was respected as a judge of poetry, though he was 
once accused of accepting a jar of wine as a bribe. 6 
When he went to Kufa, Sha'bi visited him to listen 
to his poetry, and was invited to dine and drink 
wine with him. 7 It was he who said, ' When a 
connoisseur in poetry hears a fine verse, he does not 
care whether the author is Muslim or Christian ; ' 
and the sentiment was often true, though Hammad 
ur Rawi could say, ' I will not speak of the verse of 
a man who made Christian poetry popular.' 8 The 
caliph Harun declared that the highest and most 

1 Agh., 2, 116. * Agh., 6, 72. Agh., 11, 23. 

4 Agh., 19, 102, * Agh., 6, 128. 16, 68. Agh., 7, 40. 

T Agh., 8, 81. 8 Agh., 7, 165, 172. 


fulsome (afkhar) praise ever sung of a caliph was 
the line by al Akhtal: 'Till they are brought to him, 
the sun of enmity, most clement when they are 
overcome.' l 

Mu'awia, or, in another version of the story, his 
son Yazld, had no scruple in employing al Akhtal 
to lampoon the inhabitants of Medina, who had 
angered him, when other poets refused to attack 
them, on the religious ground that they could not 
lampoon those who had sheltered and helped the 
Prophet. 2 For this freedom he narrowly escaped 
having his tongue torn out. 

Jarir recited to 'Abd ul Malik a poem in praise of 
Hajjaj, and when it was finished the caliph told al 
Akhtal to praise the Commander of the Faithful. 
He stood opposite and recited a poem, most poetical 
and most fulsome. The caliph said, 'You are our 
poet and our panegyrist ; ride on him.' He made 
ready to do so, but Jarir said, ' Commander of the 
Faithful, a Christian unbeliever should not be above 
a Muslim, should not overpower him, nor ride on 
him.' The courtiers supported him, so the caliph 
told al Akhtal to stop. 3 The same feeling of the 
superiority of Islam comes out in the answer of 
Jarir to the question whether he or al Akhtal was 
the better poet ; ' I was helped against him by the 
burden of his age and his lack of the true religion ; 
still I never saw him without fearing that he would 
swallow me.' 4 One writer points out that his rivals 
Farazdak and Jarir belonged to Mudar, and so, as a 
matter of course, Rabl'a took the side of al Akhtal 

1 Agh., 10, 4. Agh., 13, 147. 

8 Amali, 3, 43. 4 Muwashshah, 130. 


and upheld his claim to be a great poet. 1 Religious 
jealousy may lie behind this statement, an attempt 
to belittle the Christian by suggesting that tribal 
pride and not merit gave him his reputation. 
Except for a few verses which will be noticed later, 
there is practically nothing in his poetry to dis- 
tinguish it from the compositions of Muslim poets. 

The covenant of 'Umar says that dhimmis are 
not to learn the Koran or teach it to their children. 
In 235 Mutawakkil forbade Muslims to teach Chris- 
tians. 2 There was some prejudice against teaching 
the Koran to non-Muslims. Certain dhimmis asked 
Abu 'Uthman al Mazini to read with them the 
book, the grammar of Slbawaih, offering him a 
hundred dinars for his trouble. Although he was 
poor he refused. When a friend remonstrated with 
him he said, * In the book are three hundred tradi- 
tions and ever so many verses of the Koran ; I will 
not give a dhimmi such mastery over our religion.' 
Shortly after he was summoned into the presence 
of the caliph al Wathik to explain a point of gram- 
mar, and was given a thousand dinars. His comment 
was, * I gave God one hundred dinars and He has 
given me one thousand.' In this anecdote there is 
no hint that the teaching of the Koran to dhimmis 
had ever been forbidden by law ; the objection is 
simply a matter of conscience. Indeed, the law of 
Mutawakkil remained a dead letter, and famous 
dhimmis studied under Muslim teachers. 3 

Hunain b. Ishak studied under Khalll b. Ahmad 
and Slbawaih, and became a master of Arabic.* 

1 Muwashshah, 138. M., 2, 494. 

Agh., 8, 136 n. Tabak., 1, 185, 189. 


Yahya b. 'Adi b. Hamld became the chief logician 
of his day, and was a pupil of al Farabi. 1 Thabit b. 
Kurra was a pupil of Muhammad b. Musa, who 
introduced him to Mu'tadid. 2 Ibn Jazla studied under 
*Ali b. Walid, a Mutazelite ; he wrote a beautiful 
hand and was a scholar of literature. His books 
reveal his quality and his knowledge. He after- 
wards turned Muslim. 3 He died in 493. It may 
not be amiss to mention that the same tolerance 
was sometimes found among Christians ; Mattai b. 
Yunus, a Nestorian, studied under Jacobite teachers. 4 
Ibrahim b. Hilal may be taken as an example of 
what a dhimmi might become. He held high office, 
poets praised him, and Bakhtiyar, the Buwayhid, 
offered him the post of vizier if he would turn 
Muslim ; but he refused. His relations with Muslims 
were good. He exchanged letters, gifts and presents 
with the Sahib Ismail b. 'Abbad and also with the 
sharlf ar Rida; though religion separated them, 
letters united them. He knew the Koran. He used 
to tell this story of the death of his father, Hilal. 
' The vizier al Muhallabi paid me a visit of con- 
dolence. When I knew that he was on the way to 
my house, I went out to meet him and begged him 
not to take the trouble to come inside. He would 
not listen, but came up and sat for a time, saying 
everything that would encourage the mind and com- 
fort the heart. He praised and lauded my father, 
and said, " That man is not dead who has you as his 
heir and substitute/' ' When Ibrahim died, the sharlf 
ar Rida wrote an elegy upon him. Some murmured 

1 B.H. Mu., 296. B.H. Mu., 265. 

Tabak., 1, 255 ; I. Khali., 3, 256. 4 B.H. Mu., 285. 


that a sharif should lament a Sabian. Ar Rida 
defended himself on the ground that he lamented 
only the excellence that was in the jnan. It is said 
that his letters, both official and private, were among 
the most finished that were written at that time. 
Yakut devotes thirty-four pages to him in his 
Dictionary of Learned Men. 1 

In 385 Bishr b. Harun, a Christian, died. He 
had been a secretary and a poet, a lampoonist with 
a sharp tongue. 2 Though there was prejudice against 
Christians and others, yet it cannot have been very 
strong or general if an historian thought it worth 
while to record the death of such an inconspicuous 
man as this. 

The account of al Akhtal given by ibn Rashik is 
very different in temper from that in the Kitab ul 
Aghani, and shows religion turning into fanaticism. 

*A1 Akhtal was one of the great poets of the 
second period, and by virtue of his poetry became 
a companion of 'Abd ul Malik, who made him ride 
on the back of Jarlr, a pious Muslim. It is said that 
the reason for this order was a poetical contest in 
his presence. The poet, the curse of God be on 
him, openly attacked Islam and belittled the Mus- 
lims. He said : "I do not fast obediently in Ramadan, 
I do not eat the flesh of sacrifices ; I do not drive 
strong young camels to the valley of Mecca to get 
success ; I do not cry at night, like others, * Come 
to salvation.' But I will drink cold wine and wor- 
ship before the break of dawn." 

' Religious toleration was very advanced when 
kings could listen to words like this ! But for his 

1 Y.Ir., 1, 324 ; A.M., II, 2, 54. A.M., II, 2,59. 


poetry, he would have been killed for his lampoons on 
the Ansar ; and his abusive reply to Jarlr would have 
ruined a descendant of 'Ali, let alone a Christian.' 1 

These words show an entirely new spirit, for 
there is a fierceness in them that has not been seen 
earlier. The isolation produced by spiritual pride 
has given the writer swelled head (this is a good 
Arabic idiom) and destroyed his sense of humour. 
Otherwise, he would have seen the absurdity of 
calling these innocent words an attack on Islam. 
The mental segregation and consequent decay of 
Islam has begun. 

Muslim philosophy and science began in transla- 
tions. Many, if not most, of those who turned books 
from Greek and Syriac into Arabic were Christians. 
One of the earliest of them, Stephen the elder, 
worked for Khalid, the grandson of Mu'awia. 2 The 
caliphs Mansur and Mamun especially employed 
men on this work. It is said that the three sons of 
Musa, famous patrons of learning, paid five hundred 
dinars monthly for translation work. 3 

It would be hard to overestimate the importance 
of men like Hunain b. Ishak and Thabit b. Kurra, 
but their work was not literature. The philologists 
and grammarians despised them. Yakut has re- 
corded a discussion, between Abu Sa'id Hasan b. 
'Abdulla us Slrafi and Mattai b. Yunus, wherein 
Hasan speaks of ' men, weak and imperfect in one 
tongue, who translate it into another, in which they 
are also weak and imperfect'. 4 The whole discus- 
sion shows the Arab belief in the unique value of 
his language. Nevertheless, bibliographers and 

1 Umda, 1, 21. Fih., 244. Fih., 243. 4 Y.Ir., 3, 117. 


historians have preserved the names of these men, in 
spite of the defects of their Arabic. 

When Mukhtar, who was called Ibn Batlan (f 455), 
quarrelled with Ibn Ridwan, he wrote a letter 
attacking him, pointing out his faults and calling 
attention to his ignorance. 1 In this case, at any rate, 
a Christian carried on a controversy with a Muslim 
on an equal footing with his opponent. 

Ibn Khallikan thought the poetry of Hibatulla b. 
Tilmidh worth quoting, though Yakut criticizes it 
as not being as good as his prose. Makkari thought 
Ismail the Jew and his daughter Kasmuna deserv- 
ing of mention as poets. 2 In Spain, too, Mansur, the 
Jewish singer, was sent as a representative of the 
caliph with Ziryab, the Persian musician. 8 

Though Muslim scholars often show a great lack 
of curiosity about those things that do not belong to 
Islam, yet there are brilliant exceptions. Al Biruni's 
book on India stands alone ; in it he treats of the 
land and people, their habits, religion, and philo- 
sophy. Ibn Hazm, of Spain (f 456), had a very good 
knowledge of the Bible and Christian theology. Ibn 
Khaldun knew the outer form of the Bible and 
something about the organization of the church, and 
fitted these things into the Prolegomena to the 
study of history. One subject that drew interest 
was the calendar. Al Biriini dealt exhaustively with 
the various systems of counting time in the Kanun 
Mas { udi. Kalkashandi thought a knowledge of the 
religious festivals of the dhimmis necessary to a 
secretary. He is well acquainted with the feasts, 
the stories connected with, and the customs observed 

1 B.H. Mu., 331. Mak., 2, 236. * Mak., 2, 85. 


at them ; he knows, for example, of the searching of 
the house for leaven before the Passover. In speak- 
ing of such things, he does permit himself at times 
a pious sniff. Makrlzi gives even more detail about 
Christian and Jewish festivals, describes the various 
sects, gives a list of the patriarchs of Alexandria as 
an essential part of the history of Egypt, and says 
something about the history of Christianity and 
Judaism. Kazwlni describes the calendars in his 
Wonders of Creation. Mas'udi's interests also went 
beyond the bounds of Islam. In the Kitab ut 
Tanblh he tells the legend of the translation of 
the Septuagint, gives in outline the history of Con- 
stantinople with a list of the CEcumenical Councils, 
a fairly accurate account of the various heresies and 
sects, and the intricacies of Christian theology and 

The earlier Christians wrote either in Syriac or 
Coptic, and did not appeal to a Muslim audience. 
Severus b. Mukaffa' broke through literary tradi 
tion and wrote Arabic as it was spoken, and 
so courted the disdain of fashionable scholars. 
Christians helped to preserve their separate exis- 
tence by writing Arabic in Syriac or Coptic 
letters. Later, Jews and Christians wrote in Arabic, 
but for the most part their work lay apart from the 
main stream of Arabic letters. Saadya translated the 
Law into Arabic, but Muslims took no notice of it. 
Makrlzi must have used books written by dhimmis^ 
but he is careful not to name the authors. Mas'udi 
knows of books by Christians, and praises the 
histories of Kais the Maronite and Eutychius of 
Alexandria; also one by Abu Zakaria of Kuskar, 


and another by a Jacobite, who was also named Abu 
Zakaria. 1 This is, however, unusual ; Christian 
writers are generally ignored. Al Makln and Bar 
Hebraeus have a higher reputation in the west than 
in the east. 

The Book of Religion and Empire ', by 'Ali Tabari, 
with its many quotations from the Bible, stands by 
itself, for it is a defence of Islam by a convert from 
Christianity. Still it is hard to imagine that it 
could have been popular, except among those who 
knew something about the Bible. 

Another unique book is the Apology of al Kindi, 
which was written shortly before 300. The author, 
whoever he may have been, writes with the greatest 
freedom and criticizes Islam severely. He finds 
fault with the doctrine of the sacred war, makes 
fun of the ceremonies of the pilgrimage, com- 
paring Indian rites, and criticizes the mothers of 
the faithful the wives of the Prophet. What is 
perhaps more remarkable, he quotes a speech by the 
caliph attacking the hypocrisy of the courtiers in 
religious matters. 

The kadi of Harran had a Syriac account of the 
Sabian religion translated carefully into Arabic 
for the benefit of 'All b. 'Isa. 2 

Al Asbagh, the son of *Abd ul 'Aziz, is said to 
have read Christian books with the help of a deacon, 
to see if they contained blasphemies against Muham- 
mad. 3 

Writers, especially the geographers, often record 
curious facts concerning dhimmis. A few examples 
may not be out of place. Near Safed is a cave in 

1 Mas.T., 154. f Fih., 327. S., 134. 


which water collects once a year. Jews collect on 
that day, and take the water to distant places. If a 
crowd gathers and makes a noise in a church in 
Nazareth, a pillar in it sweats so that the sweat can 
be seen. 1 In a church in Egypt, to which you go 
down by some twenty steps, is a throne, and under 
the throne a dead man wrapped in leather. Above 
the throne is a big marble vessel, with a glass one 
inside it, and in this again a piece of hollow, twisted 
brass. The sacristan puts a flaxen wick in the piece 
of brass, pours in oil, and lights it. Soon the glass 
is filled with oil, which overflows into the marble 
jar. The sacristan takes this oil, which runs 
continually, fills the lamps with it, and sells the 
surplus for the maintenance of himself and the 
other servants of the church. A friend tested this, 
and it is true. If the dead man is taken away the 
oil will not flow. 2 

In one point the covenant of *Umar was kept; 
Christians were not given names of honour contain- 
ing the word din, religion. Instead they were given 
names like Amin ud Dawla. 

One Muslim, at least, did not disdain to use 
Christian ideas for political satire. He said : * Turn 
Christian, for that is the true religion. Our age 
proves it. Confess the three, may they be exalted 
and glorious ; think all else vain, for it is vain. 
Ya'kub the vizier is the father, 'Aziz is the son,, 
and Fadl the holy spirit/ 8 

1 Subh., 4,75. a I.R.,81. 8 Ath.,y. 380. 


THE accepted version of history is that, in obedi- 
ence to the tradition, * Two religions shall not 
remain in the land of the Arabs', 'Umar drove 
all Jews and Christians out of Arabia, because 
that was the land of Islam and Islam alone. This 
is an exaggeration. The dkimmis were never 
banished from Yemen, and Hamdani mentions a 
village with two hundred Jewish inhabitants in the 
east of the peninsula. 1 Dhimmis were excluded from 
the Hedjaz,but even this was contrary to the practice 
of the Prophet, was opposed to the views of some 
of the great lawyers, and was not carried out con- 

During the Prophet's lifetime, dkimmis lived in 
Medina, Mecca, Khaibar, Yemen, and Nejran, and a 
Christian, named Mawhib, is specially mentioned as 
living in Mecca. 2 'Umar did not allow adult male 
captives non-Muslims to enter Medina, but he 
made an exception in favour of Abu Lulua, at the 
request of Mughlra b. Sha'ba, as he was a skilled 
workman. 3 The rule that Nabataeans trading with 
Medina paid only five per cent instead of ten prob- 
ably implies that they visited the town. 4 Abu Zubaid, 
the Christian poet, certainly visited it, for 'Uthman 
drew him near to him and made him sit beside him. 5 

1 Hamdani, 152 ; Umm, 4, 100. * Suli, 214 ; Umm,4, 101. 

Ibn Sa'd, III, 1, 250. * Umiu, 4, 125 ; M., 2, 121. 

8 Agh., 11, 23. 

Hunain, the Christian singer of Hira, stayed in 
Medina. 1 Abu 1 Hakam, a Christian, accompanied 
Yazid to Mecca, when he led the pilgrimage during 
the reign of his father, Mu'awia. 2 c Abd ul Malik sent 
a Christian engineer to build dams in Mecca to wa'rd 
off floods. 3 In 87 or 88 Walid sent eighty Greek 
and Coptic masons to rebuild the Prophet's mosque ; 
it is even said that he wrote to the emperor for 
them. 4 In the papyri are frequent references to 
dhimmi labourers engaged in work on mosques. 

According to the Mizan, Abu Hanlfa permitted an 
unbeliever to enter the Haram, the sacred territory 
round Mecca, as a traveller, while the other three 
imams forbade it. 5 But in the Kitdb ul Umm it is 
stated that a dhimmi might visit the Hedjaz, though 
he might not stay longer than three days. He was 
only there on sufferance. If such a traveller died 
in Mecca the body was taken outside the sacred 
area for burial ; if he were taken ill he was carried 
outside at once. One who died elsewhere in the 
Hedjaz, was buried where he died ; if he fell ill he 
was taken outside the province as soon as he could 
be moved. 


We have already seen that Christian masons were 
employed in building and rebuilding mosques. It 
is reported that the king of Nubia sent to 'Abdulla 
b. Sa'd b. abl Sarh a pulpit, and with it he sent 
his carpenter, Victor of Dendera, to set it up in 
the mosque of 'Amr/ In early times Christians 

1 Agh., 2, 122. Tabak., 1, 116. B., 54. 4 B., 7; I.R.,69. 
Mizan, 2, 162. Umm, 4, 100. ' M., 2, 248. 


went into the mosques freely, though sometimes 
objection was taken to them. Al Akhtal acted as 
arbitrator for the tribe of Bakr b. Wail, apparently 
more than once, and performed his duties in the 
rftosque. 1 Khalid b. Muhajir seems to have killed 
Ibn Uthal in the mosque at Damascus, as he was 
leaving the presence of Mu'awia. 2 An embassy from 
the emperor asked permission to visit the mosque 
in Damascus. It was granted, and they entered by 
the gate opposite the dome over the mihrab. When 
they lifted their eyes to the dome the leader fell 
fainting, and had to be carried to his house. 3 One 
of the complaints against Walld b. 'Ukba, governor 
of Kufa, was that he had given a house beside the 
mosque to Abu Zubaid, who made a road of it to 
get to Walid's house. An aggravated form of the 
story is, that Abu Zubaid used to spend the night 
with the governor and in the morning cross the 
mosque drunk. 4 

'Umar ordered Abu Musa al Ash'ari to bring his 
secretary to the mosque. He explained that he 
could not do so because the man was a Christian, 
and his explanation was accepted as natural. 5 

Of the lawyers, Malik and Ahmad forbid the entry 
of dhimmis into mosques under all circumstances. 
Abu Hanlfa lets them enter without special per- 
mission, while Shafe'i requires them to get per- 
mission from the recognized authority. 

In early times dhimmis seem to have taken 
their lawsuits to the kadi in the mosque. Khair 
b. Nu'aim was kadi of Egypt from 120 to 128, 

1 Agh., 7, 171. 2 Agh., 15, 13. 3 I.A., 1, 210. 4 Agh., 4, 180. 
8 Ghazi, 388 ; Uyun, 1, 62. Mizan, 2, 163. 



judged Muslims in the mosque and Christians at 
the door, after the afternoon prayer. Others had 
judged Christians in their houses. It is said that 
the first to take Christians into the mosque was 
Muhammad b. Masruk, kadi from 177 to 184. 1 O/te 
cannot help thinking that the historian has made 
a mistake. Perhaps Muhammad reverted to a 
former custom, and, as he was well hated, everything 
he did was wrong. Bukam, the Christian headman 
of Bura in the time of Mamun, did not go into the 
mosque. On Fridays he went in procession to the 
gate, and then left his deputy to lead the prayers. 2 

In 720 a Christian, disguised as a Muslim, went 
into the mosque of Zahir, in Cairo, and tried to set 
it on fire, but it is not clear that it was necessary 
for him so to disguise himself in order to enter. 3 


In the desert compensation for the killing of a 
man could often be made by paying blood money. 
After their conquests the Arabs brought this 
custom with them, and extended it to include the 
dhimmis. What actually happened is not clear. 
The evidence is conflicting ; tradition contradicts 
tradition ; the legal schools differ widely ; the 
records of fact are few. 

Both Muhammad and 'Umar are said to have put 
Muslims to death for murdering Christians. The 
Prophet said, * Whoso kills a dhimmi will not smell 
the scent of paradise, and its scent spreads a journey 
of forty years ; ' but 'Ali said, 'A Muslim must not 
be killed for the murder of an unbeliever.' The 

1 K., 351, 390. * But, 2, 434. ' M., 2, 514. 


balance of opinion was against the execution of a 
Muslim for the murder of a dhimmi. Of the four 
imams, only Abu Hanlfa demanded it. 1 A Christian 
historian says that 'Umar II forbade it, but tradition 
bys that he ordered such an execution. 2 

There is even less agreement as to the amount 
of the blood money. Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman 
demanded the full amount, the same as for a Muslim ; 
this was also the opinion of Abu Hanlfa. Malik 
said that it was one-half of what was paid for a 
Muslim, whether for murder or manslaughter. 
Shafe'i said that it was one-third. Ahmad b. 
Hanbal held that for murder it was the same as for 
a Muslim, but for manslaughter one-half or one-third. 
If the victim was a woman, Ahmad demanded the 
full sum for murder and half for manslaughter, 
while the others required half of what was paid for 
a man. For the killing of a Magian, Abu Hanlfa 
demanded the full blood wit, Malik and Shafe'i 
wanted eight hundred dirhams, and Ahmad demand- 
ed eight hundred for manslaughter and one thousand, 
six hundred for murder. 8 

Some of these differences represent regional 
differences of custom, but others may be due to 
changes in the value of money joined with legal 

In the time of the Prophet blood money is said 
to have been 800 dinars, or 8,000 dirhams, for a 
Muslim, and half this for a dhimmi. In the days of 
'Umar it was 1,000 dinars, or 12,000 dirhams, or 
100 camels, or 200 cattle, or 2,000 sheep, or 200 

1 Bnkhari, 4, 119, 120 ; Umm, 7, 291. 
S.A., 1, 107. 3 Rahmat, 2, 126. 


costumes consisting of wrapper, cloak, shirt, and 
trousers, while that for a dhimmi remained fixed. 

The third demanded by Shafe'i was 4,000 dirhams 
which is one-half the blood money in the time of 
the Prophet. 'Umar II fixed it at 5,000 dirhatrs v , 
which is half the blood money in the time of 'Umar I, 
if ten dirhams are reckoned to the dinar. This 
suggests that the blood money for a dhimmi was 
fixed at half the sum for a Muslim, and, as the imams 
fixed on different sums as the full amount, so the 
different fractions arose. 1 

A notice in the Kitdb ul Agkani introduces 
further complications. Mu'awia made the Banu 
Makhziim pay blood money, 12,000 dirhams, for Ibn 
Uthal. Half was paid into the treasury, and the 
caliph kept the other half for himself. This was 
the custom with blood money paid for dhimmis till 
'Umar II gave up his share. The treasury, how- 
ever, still took half, i.e. 6,000 dirhams. 2 Elsewhere 
it is stated that Mu'awia put half the blood money 
for a dhimmi in the treasury. 3 The only solution 
that can be offered is this: at first full blood 
money was paid and the treasury took half, for 
Mu'awia made no distinction between his private 
purse and the public treasury. Then the govern- 
ment waived its rights, and the relatives still got 
their half. The lawyers accepted this custom, and 
formulated the rule that the blood money for a 
dhimmi was half that for a Muslim. 

The rule that a Muslim might not be executed 
for murdering a dhimmi was not always observed. 
The reason why Asad ud Dm Shirkuh and his 

1 Abu Daud, 4, 308. a Agh., IS, 13. 3 Umm, 7, 291. 


brother, Saladin, took service with Nur ud Din 
Zanji was that Shirkuh had killed a Christian, who 
was a friend of the emir of Tekrit, so the two 
brothers fled to escape the consequences. 1 When 
the doctor Amin ud Dawla was killed, in 618, the 
two murderers were executed as soon as caught, on 
the spot where they had killed their victim. 2 

If a Muslim were killed in a country inhabited by 
dhimmis, they had to pay the blood money if the 
murderers were not known or could not be caught. 3 

Malik held that no expiation was necessary for 
the accidental killing of a dhimmi\ the other three 
held that it was necessary. 4 

The damages to be paid for killing the unborn 
child of a dhimmi mother were one-tenth of the blood 
money for the mother. But if the mother were the 
wife of a Muslim, the penalty was the same as for 
the child of a Muslim woman. 5 


The lawyers are agreed that death is the penalty 
for apostasy from Islam, for they appeal to the 
tradition, 4 If a man changes his religion, kill him '. 
Some held that the apostate was to be killed under 
any circumstances; others argued that one who 
had returned to Islam, and did not persist in his 
apostasy, did not deserve to be put to death. 
Various stories are told to point the moral. Usama 
killed a man after he had pronounced the confession, 
' There is no god but God ', and defended himself on 
the ground that the man had spoken from fear only. 

1 B.H., 330. a B.H., 449. * LA., 1, 179. 

4 Mizan, 2,129. Umm,6,97. 


The Prophet asked, ' Did you split open his heart ? ' 
Another tells that at the conquest of Tustar a 
Muslim joined the unbelievers, but was captured and 
killed. 'Umar said, ' You should have put him in 
prison, fed him, and asked him to repent three day^f; 
if he did not, you might then have killed him.' 
Abu Musa kept a Jew apostate from Islam for two 
months, though Mu'adh would have put him to 
death on the spot. 1 

The imams agree that death is the penalty ; they 
differ about the time when it should be inflicted. 
Abu Hanlfa says that it must follow immediately on 
sentence, though some of his school allow a delay of 
three days. Malik says that the apostate must be 
invited to repent, and, in case of a first refusal, be 
given three days' grace. Two views are current 
under Ahmad's name. One agrees with Malik's 
teaching ; the other is that there is no need to 
invite the apostate to repent. Shafe'i holds that he 
must be invited to repent, but there is no delay in 
carrying out sentence if he is obdurate. If the 
apostate is a woman, Abu Hanifa holds that she is 
to be imprisoned and not executed ; the others hold 
that she is to be treated as a man. 2 

If an apostate escaped to a foreign country he was 
treated as dead; his property was divided among 
his heirs, his slaves set free, and his wife could 
marry again. Anything taken from him after his 
arrival in a foreign land was booty. 8 

Shafe'i ruled that if a dhimmi changed from one 
protected religion he was to be banished, for tribute 

1 Kh., 109 f. * Mizan, 2, 131. * Kb., 111. 


is not to be taken from a man for a faith other than 
that for which it was taken from him at first. 1 

The opinions of the imams do not reflect the 
practice of early Islam. It is said that 'Amr put 
$fts problem to 'Umar. A man turned Muslim, then 
apostatized, then repeated this process several 
times. Was his conversion to be accepted? 'Umar 
wrote, 'Accept it from him. Offer him Islam ; if he 
accept, leave him alone; if not, cut off his head.' 2 
Salt b. 1 'As was flogged for drunkenness by 'Umar 
II, when he was governor of the Hedjaz, so he 
turned Christian, and fled to Constantinople. An 
ambassador, sent to arrange an exchange of prisoners, 
found him there, and tried to persuade him to revert 
to his original faith and return to Arabia. He refused 
because he, his wife, and his children would be 
jeeringly called Christians. Another part of the 
story implies that he had been forced to turn Chris- 
tian after his arrival in Constantinople. There is 
no hint that he would have been in any danger for 
his perversion. 8 

A Jew turned Muslim and then reverted. 'Umar 
II gave this command about him: 'Invite him to 
accept Islam ; if he does, let him go. If he refuses, 
fetch a plank and make him lie on it, then invite 
him ; if he still refuses, tie him to it, put a spear at 
his heart, and then ask him. If he returns to Islam, 
let him go ; if he refuses, then kill him/ 4 

Frightened at the threats of Mamun, some of the 
pagans of Harran turned Muslim, but after the 
caliph's death many of them reverted. 5 

1 Urnm, 4, 105. Hakam, 168. Agh., 5, 175. 
4 Kh,, 112. Fih., 320. 


About the year 375, complaint was made to 
Muhammad b. Nu'man that a Christian, more than 
eighty years old, had turned Muslim and then aposta- 
tized. He was called on to repent but refused, so 
his case was sent to the caliph al 'Aziz. He handsel 
him over to the chief of the police, and required the 
kadi to send four witnesses to ask him to repent. 
He was promised one hundred dinars if he repented, 
and if obstinate he was to be put to death. As he 
refused he was executed, and his body was thrown 
into the Nile. 1 

During the persecution under al Hakim, in Egypt, 
many dhimmis embraced Islam. Then the caliph 
changed his policy. It is even said that he was 
sorry for what he had done, and he gave orders that 
those who had apostatized might return to their 
former faith. One version is that some Jews and 
Christians came to him and said that they preferred 
their old faiths ; he replied, ' Do what seems good 
to you.' His successor, az Zahir, allowed those who 
had been forced to embrace Islam under al Hakim 
to return to their old religions, and many did so in 
418. 2 

It is said that during the persecution of 'Abd ul 
Mumin, Maimonides was forced to pretend to be a 
Muslim. As soon as he could he escaped from Spain 
and went to Egypt, where he settled among the Jews 
in Old Cairo. The kadi, 'Abd ur Rahlm b. 'Ali al 
Baisani, befriended him. A man who had known him 
in Spain came to Egypt and tried to injure him for 
his reversion to Jewry, but the kadi protected him. 

1 K., 593. B.H., 205 ; A.M., II, 2, 69 ; M., 1, 355. 


A kindly tolerance was expressed in the words, 'A 
forced convert is not a true Muslim.' 1 


% '*In early days, the rule in the covenant of 'Umar 
forbidding dhimmis to bear arms was unknown. 
The Christian poet, Abu Zubaid, fought at the battle 
of the bridge on the Muslim side. The historian 
says that he had gone to Hlra on private business, 
and implies that, finding himself in the neighbour- 
hood of a fight, he naturally joined in. 2 

John of Nikiou says that 'Amr compelled the 
inhabitants of Egypt to fight against the Pentapolis. 8 
A Christian Arab was in the army of Walid b. 
'Ukba when he raided Asia Minor. 4 In the treaty 
which Suraka made in 22 with Armenia, it was 
stipulated that they might join the Muslim army 
instead of paying tribute, and the wording suggests 
that it was expected that they would prefer military 
service. 5 The Jarajima of Syria fought in the 
Muslim ranks. 6 Marwan b. Hakam enrolled two 
hundred men of Aila, who were probably Christians, 
as police to keep order in Medina. 7 In the papyri 
several soldiers with Greek or Coptic names are 
mentioned ; as all the Muslims in these documents 
bear Arabic names it may be presumed that these 
men were Christians. 8 The Christian tribe of 
Taghlib carried arms and carried on a war with 
their neighbours, in which al Akhtal narrowly 
escaped death. 9 While Hafs was governor of Egypt, 

1 B.H. Mu. v 417. * B., 252. * J.N., 376. 

* Agh., 4, 183. T.I. 2665. B., 159. 

Agh., 4, 155. 8 B.M., 4, 1448, 1449. Agh., 20, 126 f. 


many of the natives were enrolled and became 
soldiers. 1 The passage is not quite free from 
ambiguity, but probably all these men had first 
turned Muslim. 'Umar II assumed that dhimmis 
would be present in most armies. 2 In 365, Abifl 
'Ala 'Ubaidulla b. Fadl, a Christian, was commander 
under 'Adud ud Dawla. 3 Two thousand warrior 
Jews lived in Tadmur, and fought against the 
Christians and Arabs who were subjects of Nur ud 
Din, but helped their Muslim neighbours. 4 

Even monks must have had arms of some sort, 
for monasteries were able to defend themselves 
when attacked. 5 

It is evident that very little attention was paid to 
this clause of the covenant. 


The testimony of a dhimmi to what concerned a 
Muslim was not accepted. 6 It is reported that 
'Umar II was the first to impose this disability. 7 

Some authorities were very strict. They imagined 
an extreme case that of a Muslim who fell danger- 
ously ill on a journey, and wished to make his will 
when there were no Muslims at hand to act as wit- 
nesses. According to one book, Abu Hanlfa, Malik, 
and Shafe'i refused to accept a dkimmi as witness 
even in such circumstances. 8 According to another, 
the witness of a dhimmi was then accepted, though 
Ahmad b. Hanbal added that he must swear that 
he has not been unfaithful, has not concealed, 

1 S., 164. > Ibn Sa'd, 5, 262. Ed., 2, 392. * Benj., 45. 

8 B.H., 516. fl Mud., 4, 81. T Lang., 253. " Rahmat, 2,188. 


changed or altered anything, and that it is the man's 
will. 1 The systems of the lawyers were stricter than 
common usage, for the Lisan ul ''Arab, in the article 
on the word witness, says that the testimony of a 
dMmmi to the concerns of a Muslim is accepted if 
he is on a journey or in case of necessity. 2 Opinions 
were divided whether the witness of one dhimmi 
against another could be accepted. Abu Hanifa 
accepted it, Malik and Shafe'i did not; both views are 
attributed to Ahmad. 3 Here again system was stricter 
than usage ; for if a dhimmi had wine to be taxed, 
its value had to be assessed by two other dhimmis* 
Malik gives the forms to be observed by a 
dhimmi in taking an oath. It had to be taken in a 
place of worship, whether synagogue, church or fire 
temple. A Christian had to swear by God, not by 
* God who revealed the Gospel to Jesus '. Similarly 
a Jew swore by God, and not by ' God who revealed 
the Law '. A certain Ka'b b. Sawar swore by God, 
and put the Gospel on his head, in the sanctuary. 5 


The books of canon law have a lot to say about 
the relations between Muslims and d/timmis. While 
it is certain that the rulings of the lawyers were not 
always respected, there can be no doubt that the 
pressure of legal opinion did help to mould popular 
feeling, and so influenced the position of the dhimmi. 

A Muslim woman could marry none but a Mus- 
lim. This law seems never to have been broken. A 

1 Mizan, 2, 177. * L.A., 4, 225. 

8 Rahmat, 2, 188 ; Mud., 4, 81 ; Mizan, 2, 176. 

< Kh., 79, 8 Mud., 4, 104. 


Muslim man might not marry a pervert from re- 
ligion from whose tongue had gone forth words of 
unbelief, a Magian, an idolater, a Zindik, or one who 
was converted to a religion of the book after the 
coming of the Prophet and was not by birth a Je^. 1 

If the wife of a d/iimmi turned Muslim and was 
pregnant at the time, she was given alimony till the 
child was born and was paid while suckling it. If 
one of the parents turned Muslim, minor children 
were counted Muslims. Shafe'i disapproved of the 
suggestion that children born outside Islam remain 
outside till they adopt it of their own accord. If 
the wife of a dhimmi turned Muslim after the 
consummation of marriage, she took the whole of 
the bride price ; if before the consummation, the 
husband took half. A Christian woman married to 
a Muslim has to observe some of the Muslim laws 
on ablution ; otherwise she robs her husband of his 
rights. 2 

If a Muslim sends away his Christian wife with a 
triple divorce, and she marries a Christian, who 
divorces her, the Muslim can marry her again when 
her time is up. 3 If the concubine of a Christian turns 
Muslim, there can be no intercourse between them, 
and at his death she becomes free. 4 If the wife of a 
Christian turns Muslim while her husband is absent 
on a long journey, she may either wait for his 
return in case he also should have turned 
Muslim or she may marry again. 8 

The lawyers held that none but a Muslim could 
be perfectly moral. Hence unchastity was a lesser 

1 Ihya, 2, 25. a Umm, 4, 183. Umm, 4, 186. 

4 Umm, 4, 189. 6 Mud., 4, 236. 


sin in a dhimmi than in a Muslim. So, if a Muslim 
committed fornication or adultery with a dhimmi 
woman he was beaten, but the woman was handed 
over to the people of her own religion to do what 
thty liked with her. Any other procedure would 
have been interference with their privileges. 1 If a 
Christian man committed either of these offences 
they were not thought so heinous, because the 
offender did not receive the full legal punishment 
in stripes. 2 What actually happened was not in 
accord with the rules. The Prophet is reported to 
have had two Jews stoned for adultery, presumbly 
with Jewesses. 3 Here Jewish law was simply 
carried out. In 617 Abu 'Ali, the son of Ibn abi 1 
Baka, a Christian, was seized by the police with a 
Muslim woman, named Sitt Sharaf, in his company. 
He confessed that many Muslim women had come 
to him for his wealth's sake, among them Ishtiyak, 
the wife of Ibn ul Bukhari, the keeper of the store 
house. The women were put in prison, and Abu 
*Ali was fined six thousand dinars. 4 In 820, in 
Egypt, a Christian committed adultery with a 
Muslim woman, and both confessed to their sin. 
They were stoned outside the gate Sha'ria ; the 
woman was then buried and the man burnt. 5 

If a Christian makes a vow not to have anything 
to do with his wife for four months, and at the end 
of that time they appeal to a Muslim judge, judg- 
ment is given according to Muslim law, restitution 
of conjugal rights or divorce. The law recommends 
him to pay compensation, but cannot enforce this. 

1 Mud., 4, 400. * Mud., 4, 398. 3 Umm, 4, 186. 

4 B.H. Mu., 419. 5 Husn, 2, 184. 


If a Christian slanders his wife and they appeal to 
a Muslim judge, he decides as for Muslims. If the 
man refuses to accept the verdict, he is beaten, but 
not with the full number of stripes ; for the full 
number is not fixed as the punishment for slander- 
ing a Christian woman. 1 If the concubine of a 
dhimmi commits a crime, he can redeem her at her 
full value, if the damages are equal to or greater 
than that. If they are less, he can pay them or he 
can give her to the party wronged. 2 

Al Ghazali says that a Muslim woman ought not 
to expose her person to a dhimmi woman. He 
assumes that this might happen in a bath used by 
both Muslims and dhimmis^ men and women. 3 


It is not necessary to repeat here what has 
been said in other chapters of the existence and 
wealth of dhimmi merchants. Benjamin of Tudela 
is careful to name the occupations of the Jews he 
met ; they were dyers, weavers of silk, makers of 
Tyrian glass, and shipowners. 

The lawyers did not approve of association with 
such people in trade. Malik did not think it right 
for a Muslim to hire a garden from a Christian on a 
profit-sharing basis, though he might let one to a 
Christian on these terms ; or a vineyard, so long as 
no wine was made from the grapes. 4 Again he 
would have allowed partnership between a Muslim 
and a dhimmi only on the impossible condition that 
the Muslim should be present at all transactions 
carried through by his partner. 5 He ruled also 

1 Umm, 4, 184. * Mud., 4, 463. 8 Ihya, 2, 235. 

4 Mud., 4, 11,57. 6 Mud., 4, 38. 


that a Muslim might not employ a Christian slave 
in trade. 1 That these lawyers' laws were only 
counsels of perfection is proved by incidents like the 
following: About the year 567, the Franks captured 
two Egyptian ships and seized the cargoes, but, 
after energetic action by Nur ud Din, restored the 
goods to their owners. A merchant had some 
goods on both ships in charge of two agents. When 
the goods were given back each man got only a 
small part of his property. Each took what belong- 
ed to him and the cloth marked by his name ; but 
some took what did not belong to them. One of 
the two agents, a trustworthy man and a Christian, 
took only what bore his name and mark, thus losing 
much of his merchandise ; indeed, he saved more of 
the merchant's wares than his own. When he came 
back he restored his goods to the merchant, who 
refused to take them and told him to keep them all, 
as he was better able to bear the loss than the agent. 
He also rejected a proposal to share equally. Some 
time later the agent came with some cloth belonging 
to the merchant. A man from Tabriz, a passenger 
on the same ship, had got back his wares, and found 
among them some cloth with the agent's name on it. 
He had enquired after him, searched him out, and 
given his cloth back to him. * Such men are few/ 
adds the historian. 2 

Nasir i Khusrau says that in his day there was a 
Christian in Egypt who, when a famine was expected, 
told the vizier that he had enough corn to feed the 
whole of Cairo for six years. 3 

1 Mud., 4, 128. Raudatain, 1, 203. Sefernameh, 53. 


Some of the lawyers' views are quite favourable 
to dhimmis. Thus if a Muslim and a Christian are 
part owners of a house, and the Muslim wants to 
sell his share, the Christian has the right of pre- 
emption. 1 * ' 

If a slave to whom his master has promised free- 
dom at his death is hurt or killed, the master takes 
the damages. 2 

The thought that Muslims could be the slaves of 
dhimmis was not pleasant, but the lawyers did not 
dare to deny the dhimmis right to buy any slaves 
he chose. The purchase was legal, but Shafe'i would 
compel a Christian to sell his Muslim slave to a 
Muslim. In the same way, if a slave turned Muslim, 
his Christian owner, or part owner, should be forced 
to sell his slave or his share of him. 3 If the slave 
of a Christian turns Muslim while his master is 
absent on a long journey, he is to be sold. 4 

A dhimmi may not bring waste land under 
cultivation. 5 

A Muslim may not accept from a dhimmi wine or 
a pig as a pledge. 6 

He may not bequeath anything to a dhimmi, but 
he may accept as a bequest from one anything, 
except wine or a pig or anything that makes a 
Muslim liable to poll-tax. 7 It is reported that 'Abd 
ul Malik ordered all pigs in the towns of Syria and 
North Mesopotamia to be slaughtered. 8 

If a dhimmi promises to give something to a 
Muslim and then tries to back out of his promise, 

1 Mud., 4, 236. 3 Mud., 4, 438. 3 Umm, 4, 188. 

4 Mud., 4, 236. Umm, 4, 133. fl Mud., 4, 164. 

* Mud., 4, 287. 8 S.A., 1, 296 ; C.M., 232. 


the Muslim can take him to law. If this happens 
between two dhimmis there is no appeal to law. 1 

It was not thought right for a Muslim to borrow 
money from a Christian. 2 This is only an example 
^)fthe general rule that a dhimmi must not have 
power over a Muslim. 


Two Jews, Yusuf b. Finhas (Phinehas) and 
Harun b. 'Imran, formed a firm of bankers in 
Mesopotamia. At one time they farmed the taxes 
of Ahwaz. 3 The vizier, Ibn ul Furat, had 700,000 
dinars deposited with them. 4 He also employed 
them when he wished to embezzle government 
money. 5 There was a guild of Jewish bankers in 
Egypt. 6 The Jewish quarter of Isfahan was a great 
centre of trade. 7 


History has many stories of the drinking of 
wine by Muslims. It is argued that a sharp dis- 
tinction was drawn between palm wine and grape 
wine, the one forbidden and the other allowed ; that 
khamr, the foreign product, foreign as its name, was 
taboo, and nabidh, the indigenous article, was 
allowed ; and that men like the caliph Harun drank 
only palm wine. According to the Lisan urArab, no 
argument can be based on the word used. Nabidh 
might mean the non-intoxicating fresh palm juice, 
but it was also used for any intoxicating liquor. It 
is probable that many Muslims drank grape wine, 

1 Mud., 4, 330. a Mud., 4, 11, 57. 8 Viziers, 178, 

* 'Arib., 74. Viziers, 78 f . e Mez., 449. T Muk., 388. 



and it is certain that many were, according to later 
standards, very lax in their attitude towards it. 

The covenant says that no dhimmi shall sell wine 
to a Muslim or show it in public. The opinion of 
Shafe'i is that, if a dhimmi sells wine to a Muslim', 
the government has to annul the sale, confiscate the 
price if it has been already paid, pour out the wine, 
and punish the seller. 1 All this is unknown in the 
first century. 

Thus Bishr b. Marwan, among other gifts, sent 
wine to al Akhtal. 2 When Sha'bi visited Kufa he was 
asked to dine and drink wine with the Christian 
poet, 3 who once came into the presence of 'Abd ul 
Malik, his beard dripping with wine. 4 Speech was 
free to an extent not possible later. Al Akhtal said 
to Mutawakkil ul Laithi, * If I poured wine into you, 
you would be the best of all poets.' 5 The exploits 
of some topers have been recorded and the literary 
world does not seem to have been shocked at them. 
Thus al Ukaishir passed by a woman in Hira who 
sold wine, and said to her, ' Give me good measure 
and I will give you good praise.' G The same man was 
compelled to join an army that went to fight the people 
of Syria. He rode on a donkey as he had no horse, 
and, lagging behind, came to a village where was 
a tavern kept by a Nabataean. He hid there, sold 
his donkey, and spent the price on drink and the 
wife of the innkeeper. 7 

Among the papyri is an order, dated 82, for wine 
for the household of the governor. 8 This may have 
been for the use of the Christian members of the 

1 Umm, 4, 131. a Agh., 10, 2. Agh., 8, 81. Agh., 7, 169. 
Agh., 11, 37. Agh,, 10, 86. 7 Agh., 10, 90, " B.M., 4, 1375. 


household. Boiled wine occurs regularly in the 
tax lists and requisition forms ; it is probably the 
vinegar of the Arabic texts. 

'Umar II forbade the use of wine, and gave orders 
to'break the wine jars and shut the taverns. 1 The 
prohibition had very little effect. Even caliphs 
were not too pious to provide wine for those who 
wanted it. Mansur thought that Jurjis b. Bukhtishu' 
was not looking well, so had some special wine 
fetched for him. Once when Yuhanna b. Masaweih 
was drinking with al Wathik, he was given bad wine 
because he had failed to tip the cup-bearer. He told 
the caliph that it was his business to know the taste 
of things, but he had never tasted anything like that 
wine. He contrived to get three hundred thousand 
dirhams out of the caliph as compensation. 2 

The papyri show that Muslims took part in the 
wine trade, both directly and indirectly. In one a 
certain Yazld reports the purchase and carriage to 
Fustat of a quantity of wine, and the payment of 
duty on it. 3 One Ahmad b. 'Umar b. Sarf received 
half a dinar from Stephanus, being six months' rent 
of a tavern. 4 In the third century the 'taxes of 
enjoyment ', in other words, taxes on wine, in Nisibis 
produced five thousand dinars yearly. 5 In the next 
century there were heavy taxes on taverns in Shiraz. 6 
In Kara], the trade in wine produced four hundred 
thousand dirhams for the revenue. 7 

The accounts of the festivals in Egypt show how 
important the wine trade was. Al Hakim forbade 
the sale of intoxicants. 8 Baibars made several 

1 K.,68, a Tabak., 1, 175. s Rainer, 161. 4 Rainer, 630. 
8 I.H., 142. ' Muk., 429. T Yak.B., 273. 8 M., 2, 287. 


attempts to stop the trade. In 663 he forbade the 
sale and brewing of beer in Egypt. 1 In 666 he 
poured away the wine in Cairo. And again i n 669 
he poured away the wine and stopped the mono- 
poly which had brought into the treasury a thousand 
dinars yearly. 2 

1 Q., 2, 5. a M., 1, 106. 


IN legal terminology, kharaj means land tax and 
jizya poll-tax. It has been proved conclusively, and 
here it is only needful to mention the fact, that this 
usage is not primitive, and that both words, kharaj 
in the east and jizya in Egypt, meant tribute. The 
commonly accepted tradition is that 'Umar I 
imposed two taxes, land and poll, which were uniform 
throughout the empire. 

Information about taxation is found in the papyri, 
historical works, law books, and those written for 
the instruction of secretaries. 


Among the papyri discovered in Egypt are many 
dealing with taxation, for the most part between the 
years 80 and 100. There are lists of payments 
by individuals, tax rolls, notifications of taxes due, 
requisitions, and details of sums paid by persons 
and institutions. Many of these papers are fragment- 
ary, fail us when we most want their aid, and take 
for granted what we most want to know. Still some 
things are clear. There were several taxes. The 
land paid both money and corn, though it is not 
clear whether these were two separate taxes or parts 
of one ; the tetartia paid in money ; requisitions 
which seem to have been paid usually in money ; 
special requisitions of milk and honey ; and the 
poll-tax. No Muslim is recorded as paying taxes. 


This might be chance but, considering the testimony 
of Muslim historians, it is certain that they did 
not pay. 

?* : ; POLL-TAX 


There is no record of a woman paying poll-tSx, 
which agrees with the statements of the historians 
and lawyers. Not all men paid it. Some priests 
paid, but others did not (1420; 38 f., 47, 49, 77). 1 
Sons and children (presumably grown up) paid 
while other children (presumably minors) did not 
(1420 ; 39, 45, 87). There is no evidence that monks 
paid. The rate of assessment varied, it was 3 dinars 
(1427, 5; 1428, 6), 2\ (1428, 5), and 4 (1428, 11). 
Easement was given by assessing a man as a frac- 
tion of a person, so 9 men are counted as 8j 
(1427, 5). In A.M. 195 a baker paid \ dinar (670). 
A few totals will show the amounts actually paid. 
95 men pay 230 dinars. 7 men pay 20 dinars. 

^ *0 ^ ^ 

' >, > 17 1<- >> ^5g ,, 

15 38J 44 ,,1088 

, , (1420 ; 3, 146 f.) 


The land paid both cash and corn ; for con- 
venience we may call the latter payment the corn 
tax. Landholders, including women, paid this tax, 
and some who had no land even paid the corn tax. 
Tradesmen paid a special tax, apparently in place of 
the land tax. Corn land and vineyards were registered 
separately, and probably at different rates (1339). 
The palms and acacias were counted (577). 

1 In the references to papyri, numbers below 1,000 refer to Rainer, 
those above to B.M. 


The rate of the land tax varied ; often it was 1 
dinar on 4 aroura, though it might be as low as or 
as high as 1 . In one case 3*4 aroura of irrigated 
land, and 5'1 of unirrigated, each paid 1 dinar (1428). 

Some leases of crown lands of a later date may 
serve for comparison. (The last three were certainly 
granted to Muslims.) 

Forty feddan,zk a rent of 30 dinars, for 10 feddan 
were without water and not taxable. A.H. 176 (621). 

Fifty feddan, at a rent of 50 dinars, and payment in 
kind. 'A.H. 177 or 178 (625). 

One dinar, 10 ardebb of wheat, and 3j ardebb of 
barley for the feddan. No date. (626.) 

One dinar and 15 ardebb of wheat the feddan for 
wheat land, and 1 dinar, \ ardebb of wheat, and \ 
ardebb of barley for land under barley. A.H. 180 (638). 

At the end of the first century most of the hold- 
ings seem to have been small ; the biggest sum paid 
by an individual was 7 dinars. The following prices 
and wages will be useful for estimating the real value 
of money. In A.H. 80, twenty ardebb of wheat cost 1 
dinar, and in A.H. 88, twelve cost 1 dinar, while later, 
10 ardebb of wheat, or 20 of barley, cost 1 dinar 
(587, 1433, 1434). In A.H. 92, one sheep cost | dinar 

A shipbuilder for wages and expenses got 2 dinars a month. 
A caulker 1J (1410) 
A carpenter f (1336) 
A sawyer got 11 dinars yearly, a labourer 16, and a carpen- 
ter 23 (1341, 1366). 

In A.H. 88 the corn tax was roughly 1 ardebb for 
every dinar of the land tax (1420), but in 96 (?) it 
was 2 ardebb to the dinar (1424). 


In 98 and the five following years the land tax of 
Aphrodite (Ashkuh) remained constant at 6951 
dinars, 15 carats, i.e. if. It was not always so. 
In 80, Psurou (Baslru) paid 70 dinars 21 c., and in 
91 it paid 104 (1412 and Der Islam 2, 267). 
The following list shows how payments varied : 

A.H. 80-85 A.H. 91 

Pakaunis . . . . 371 din. 498 din. 

Empheuteuon . . . . 390 131J 

Bounon . . . . 40 47J 

Keranios . . . . 50 25J 

Poimen . . 102 ,, 30 

Monastery of Mary . . 114 ,, 98 ,, 

Monastery of Pharos . . Ill ,, 5J ,, 

Monastery of Mary . . 48 ,, 47J 

3 Pediades . . . . 436 J 400 

2 Pediades . . 233 253J 

5 Pediades . . . . 421 461i 

Monastery of Barbaros . . 110 ,, 10 ,, 

(1412-1419. P.S.R. Appendix) 

A.H. 88 A.H. 97 

Desert Monastery of Mary 30J din. 114 din. 

Abba Ermaotos .. 28 J 189 J 

It is clear from these figures that some of the 
monasteries were rich; the desert monastery of 
Mary had eight estates in A.H. 98, -and that of 
Barbaros had ten (1419). 

The central government notified a district how 
much it had to pay, and local officials distributed the 
sum among the taxpayers. A typical notice is, ' From 
Kurra b. Shuraik to the people of Psurou. Your 
share of the tribute for the year 88 is 104 dinars, 
and of the corn tax ll ardebb wheat. Written by 
Rashid, Safar'91.' It seems that the lunar year 91 
was the solar year 88. 1 

1 Caetani, Vol. IV, pi. v. 



This was about one per cent of the land tax. 

It is noteworthy that 609 has a list of three money 
taxes, and a Syriac historian speaks of taxes, tribute 
and poll-tax. 1 


fall into two classes : those ' included in the 
schedule ' and * those not included '. The ' includ- 
ed ' requisitions bear no fixed proportion to the 
land tax ; but vary from one-half in the case of 
Sakoore to one-ninety-second in the case of Pakaunis. 
The * not included* vary even more (1413). The 
requisitions for milk and honey were not levied on 
the smaller sub-divisions. Indeed, the smaller places 
seem to have been burdened only with the bigger, 
more general, requisitions. The following table 
shows the requisitions on three monasteries : 

T* i *, r* *_ Abba 

Holy Mary Barbaros ~ 

J Ermaotos 

Allowance for the Commander of 

the Faithful . . 

Goods for the boats . . tf $ 

Cloth for a hair tent . . . . T \ T \ ? T 5 * 

Fine .. .. .. 33 T V 

Half sailor for the fleet, expenses, 

and 2 measures of boiled wine 

for the Muhajimn . . J 

Two measures of boiled wine for 

the Muhajirun of the fleet J 

Carriage of goods for the boats at 

Klysma . . . . J J 

Pile for embankment . . J 

Expenses of governor. . $ J 

1 C.M.,335. 


Holy Mary Barbaros _ 

3 Ermaotos 

Care of embankment . . J ? 

Goods for Klysma . . . . j i 

Sailor for Anatolian fleet, and 

expenses . . . . . . , \ 

Forty workmen for the mosque 

at Damascus . . . . J 

Care of embankment, baskets 50 20 ? 

Money total. dinars 36f \ 2\ 31 

(A.H. 88, 1433) 

Contributions are often mentioned. It is not 
certain if these were the same as the requisitions or 
not. From the Rainer collection come the following : 
' 20 ardebb of barley (551), 3,164 ardebb of wheat (A.H. 
21, 553), 3 meals for men (555), 342 ardebb of wheat 
and 171 measures of oil for 342 soldiers and 12 
armourers' (?) (557). This last reminds one curiously 
of Omar's method of finding out how much was 
wanted by the soldiers as rations. Then 65 sheep 
(558) and 99 horses (564) are called for. In A.H. 91 
is a demand for 70 camisia at \ dinar each, for ' the 
subsidy of the Commander of the Faithful ' (1362). 
Divers articles of food are wanted by the governor 
' for the maintenance of us, and the officials who are 
with us, both Arabs and Christians, and of various 
persons . . . ' (1375). Many sailors were wanted 
for the fleets, and the taxpayers had to provide 
their wages ; hence the frequent occurrence in the 
accounts of half a sailor or some other fraction, the 
district having to provide that part of his wages. 
Labourers had to be supplied for work in Jerusalem 
and Damascus, and their wages paid. 

At this time many of the Egyptian peasants fled 
from their holdings. It is safe to assume that one 


reason for their doing so was the burden of taxation. 
It is obvious that there are serious discrepancies 
between the account given by the lawyers and that 
of the papyri. The latter prove the existence of 
taxes which are not even hinted at by the legal 


The terms given to the various places conquered 
were not on a model imposed from Medina, but 
depended on local conditions and the temper of the 
victor. For the sake of completeness, terms imposed 
by the Prophet, whether historical or legendary, are 
included in the following list of treaties. 

The Prophet wrote to Bahrain, ' Whoso prays 
facing in the same direction as we do, and eats what 
we kill, is a Muslim with the same privileges and 
duties as we have. Whoso does not do this must 
pay one dinar in Ma'afiri cloaks.' 1 

Some of the people of Bahrain made peace, 
promising to pay half their dates and corn. 2 

Every adult male in Bahrain paid one dinar, 3 in 
Yemen one dinar or its value in cloth. In Yemen 
both men and women paid a dinar. 4 

A male dhimmi in Yemen paid one dinar. A 
governor tried to take one-fifth of the crops, but was 
not allowed to. A Christian living in Mecca paid 
one dinar a year. 5 

The terms with Nejran were : (1) the payment of 
2,000 cloaks of the average value of 40 dirhams 
weight of silver; any deficiency could be made 
good in horses, camels, arms, or provisions ; (2) the 
entertaining of the Prophet's messengers for a 

1 Kh M 75. B., 80. B., 81. B., 71. Umm, 4, 101. 


month ; (3) the supply of 30 horses, 30 camels, and 
30 coats of mail in the event of war in Yemen ; these 
were to be made good by the Prophet if destroyed. 
The tribute of cloaks was diminished by 'Uthman, 
and by subsequent caliphs, as the numbers of 1?he 
Nejranis decreased. 1 

On his return to Medina from Tebuk, the Prophet 
imposed a tax on the dhimmi in Medina, Mecca, 
Khaibar, Yemen, and Nejran, 1 dinar or there- 
abouts on the men, and nothing on the women and 
children. 2 

He levied 1 dinar a head on Tebuk and Aila. 3 

In the reign of Abu Bakr almost the first place 
outside Arabia to be conquered was Bosra ; there 
every adult male had to pay 1 dinar and 1 jarlb of 
wheat. 4 The same terms were given to Antioch 
later. 5 

Banikia paid 1,000 dinars and a tailasan? 

In the reign of ( Umar conquests became rapid. 
Many traditions refer to Syria, but it is impossible 
to know whether they mean Damascus or Syria as 
a whole. 

At first every one paid 1 dinar and 1 jarlb, but 
later 'Umar changed this. 

Khalid imposed on Damascus 1 dinar, 1 jarib, and 
oil and vinegar. 7 Abu 'Ubaida imposed a fixed 
tribute, not to be increased if they multiplied, not 
to be diminished if they became fewer. 8 Two dinars 
a head and food. Some were taxed according to their 
ability to pay ; if their wealth increased so did the 
tax, if it diminished the additional tax was dropped. 9 

1 B., 64. 8 Suli, 214. 8 B., 59. 4 B., 113. 8 B., 147. 
B., 244. * B., 124. I.A., 1, 178. LA., 1, 150. 


On adult males 4 dinars, 2 mudd wheat, 3 kist 
oil, and the duty of entertaining Muslim travellers 
for three days. 1 Another version makes the wheat 
and oil a monthly payment, adds to these ghee and 
honey, and omits the entertainment. 2 

In Rakka every man paid 1 dinar, several kaj Iz 
of wheat, vinegar, oil, and honey. 3 

In Edessa every man paid 1 dinar and 2 mttdd of 
wheat. 4 

In al Jazira North Mesopotamia tribute was at 
first paid in kind, food, oil, and vinegar. Then 
'Umar reduced this, and introduced the graduated 
poll-tax, with 2 mudd of wheat and 2 kist each of oil 
and vinegar. 5 Another version is 1 dinar, 2 mudd 
of wheat, and 2 kist each of oil and vinegar, and that 
*Abd ul Malik raised it to 4 dinars without grading. 6 

Barlisma and az Zawabi agreed to pay 4 dirhams 
a head. Barusma broke faith and was sacked. 7 This 
resembles the story that Constantine, the patrician 
of Syria, told 'Umar that the terms imposed by Abu 
'Ubaida were 4 dirhams and a cloak a head. He 
afterwards confessed that this was his own invention. 8 
It also resembles the treaty made by c lshoyahbh, 
whereby the rich paid 12 dirhams, and the poor, 
except priests, paid 4. 9 It is curious that the figure 
4 occurs later. Tamlmabu Harrab rebelled against 
Mu'tasim in Palestine, and was followed by 30,000 
of the hungry and naked. According to Michael the 
Syrian, who calls him Thamam, he declared that 
Christians should pay only a tax of 4 dirhams. 10 

1 B., 152. * B M 125. a B., 173. 4 B., 174. ' B., 178. 
6 Kh., 23. T B., 251. a Ghazi, 389. B.H., Eccl., 3, 115 f. 
10 Lang., 275 ; cf. B.H., 152. 


There is a story, that is almost unbelievable, but 
yet is too curious to have been invented. The tribe 
of Bajila formed a quarter of the army which fought 
at Kadisia, so 'Umar promised them a quarter of 
the Sawad South Mesopotamia. Finally he per- 
suaded their chief, Jarlr b. 'Abdulla, to surrender 
his claims according to one story, after he had 
enjoyed them for three years for 80 or, in another 
version, 400 dinars. A woman refused to give up 
her share till 'Umar gave her a pure bred camel, 
with a red saddle cloth, and filled her hands with 
gold. Another version is that, after the battle of 
J alula, Jarlr gave up his rights at the caliph's request 
Yet another says that every man of the tribe 
received a pension of 2,000.* 

Other places paid lump sums. Hlra paid 80,000 
or 100,000 dirhams yearly. 2 Yahya says, * Terms 
were made with the men of Hlra to pay a sum 
which they distributed among themselves ; there 
was no fixed amount on the individual.' 3 

Anbar paid 400,000 dirhams and 1,000 cloaks. 4 

Edessa and Harran paid fixed sums. 5 Hims paid 
170,000 dinars according to one story, but Tabari 
says that some of the inhabitants paid 1 dinar and 
food. 6 

The Samaritans at first paid poll-tax. Yazld b. 
Mu'awiamade them pay land tax, and put a poll-tax 
of 2 dinars on those in the Jordan province and 5 on 
those in Palestine. Some of them appealed tc 
Mutawakkil, and he cut it down from 5 to 3. 7 

When Tiflis was captured, in the reign oi 

1 B., 267 f. ; Umm, 4, 192. B., 243. 3 Yahya, 36. * B., 246. 
* Kh., 23. B., 130 ; T.I., 2391 ; Azdi, 128. B., 158. 


'Uthman, each family agreed to pay 1 dinar, both 
sides promising to play fair in counting families. 1 

In the treaty made by Suraka, in 22, with the 
people of Armenia and the Gates, it was arranged 
th^t they should join the Muslim armies, and 
military service take the place of tribute. Those 
who did not join the army had to pay the same 
tribute as the people of Adherbaijan. 2 

In al Jazlra the villagers were treated exactly as 
the townspeople, except that they had to supply 
rations to the Muslims. 3 

Egypt. The traditions are many. Two dinars 
on every male. 4 Two dinars a head and food for 
the Muslims. 5 Two dinars and food. The food was 
later compounded for at the rate of 2 dinars, making 
a tax of 4. 6 Two dinars on every adult male and 
on 1 jarib, 1 dinar, and 3 ardcbb of food. 7 Two 
dinars on every male except the poor, and on every 
landowner 3 ardcbb of wheat, and 2 kist each of oil, 
honey, and vinegar. All had to provide clothing 
for the army, shoes, trousers, turbans, coats, and 
cloaks. 8 As Suli gives the same tribute without the 
clothing. 9 

The graded money tax, 12 ardcbb of wheat yearly 
and three days' entertainment of Muslims. 10 

It is said that 'Amr imposed a tax of 26 dirhams 
on all, and on the rich 2 dinars and 3 ardebb of 
wheat. 11 This is intelligible if the second tax was in 
addition to the first, when the rich would have paid 
about twice as much as the poor. 

1 B., 201. * T.I.,2665. Kh. f 23. 4 M., 1,76. " M., 1, 294. 
B., 216. ' B. 215, 6 B., 214. Suli, 217. 

10 B., 125; M., 1,76. A.S., 75. 


It is definitely stated that the Copts paid to the 
Muslims the same tribute they had paid to the 
Byzantines. 1 

The general impression gained from these tradi- 
tions is that the larger part of the tribute was derived 
from a poll-tax. The papyri show that the poll-tax 
was a smaller item than the land tax. 

It was held that if a town had capitulated, the 

terms of the capitulation were binding on the 

Muslims, whereas they were free to do as they liked 

with one that had been captured by force of arms. 

There was much discussion whether Egypt had 

capitulated or not. The discussion was purely 

academic, though traditions were quoted on both 

sides. Mu'awia tried to add to the tribute of Egypt, 

but the attempt was foiled by the refusal of Wardan, 

a freedman of 'Amr's. 2 On the other side this tale 

is told. The headman of Ikhna came to 'Amr and 

said, * Tell us what tribute each one has to pay and 

we will pay it.' 'Amr pointed to a corner of the 

church, and said, ' If you gave me that, filled with 

money from the floor to the roof, I would not tell you 

what you have to pay. You are our treasury. If we 

need much, you will pay much, if our burdens are 

small, so will yours be.' 8 Not all accounts of ' Amr are 

flattering. A Christian says that he was of savage 

extraction, treated the Egyptians without pity, and 

did not keep the treaties he had made. 4 He is said 

to have left 70 skins of dinars, each weighing 2 

Egyptian ardebb. His sons refused to take this 

money until those to whom any of it might belong 

1 M., 1,76. 'B.,217. * M M 1,77, 168. 4 J.N.,377. 


had received their due share. Mu'awia took it. 1 In 
this same period 'Umar fined several of his gover- 
nors for enriching themselves at the expense of the 
provincials ; they were Sa'd b. abl Wakkas of Kiifa, 
'Atnrof Egypt, Abu Hurairaof Bahrain, Nu'man b. 
'Adi of Maisan, Nafi' b. 'Amr of Mecca, and Ya'la b. 
Munya of Yemen. 2 

At a later date a caliph is made to testify to the 
sufferings of the dhimmis. A Muslim said to 'Umar 
II, ' Commander of the Faithful, why are prices high 
in your reign when they were low in those preced- 
ing?' He replied, 'Those before me burdened the 
dhimmis above their strength, so that they were 
obliged to sell their goods at a loss. I lay on them 
a burden they can bear, so that they can sell when 
they please. 5 The man said, * I wish you would fix 
prices for us/ The caliph answered, * This is not 
our business; God fixes prices/ 3 But the order 
attributed to him, * Leave to those on the Euphrates, 
who pay tribute enough to let them have gold seals, 
to wear the tailasan, and to ride on hackneys. Take 
what is left over ', 4 gives a less favourable view of 
his rule. 

There can be no doubt that the tribute of Egypt 
and probably of other provinces was increased. 
'Abdulla b. abl Sarh extracted a bigger revenue 
than did 'Amr, though the figures twelve and four- 
teen millions are exaggerated, and 'Amr's defence 
before the caliph is famous. Other increases are 
mentioned. While 'Abd ul 'Aziz was governor, a 
census of the monks was taken and they were made 

1 M., 1, 301. ' Yak., 2, 181 ; B., 82, 384. Kb., 76. 

Uyun,l, 53. 



to pay 1 dinar each. 1 Severus says, * This was the 
first jizya? It is not clear whether he means the 
first poll-tax or the first tribute paid by monks. 

As Suli has an account that deserves to be 
quoted in full. ' These terms were given them ; 
their wives, children, estates, and houses were not 
to be sold, their treasures not confiscated, and no 
addition made to their tribute. This continued till 
'Abdulla b. Sa'd b. abl Sarh became governor ; he 
raised two million of revenue till the reign of 'Abd 
ul Malik, who made his brother 'Abd ul 'Aziz 
governor of Egypt. He made a survey of the estates 
which were many and gave fiefs to some soldiers. 
This added to the burden on the payers of poll-tax, 
who were asked to pay a million dinars. They went 
to 'Abd ul Malik and complained. When they came 
back 'Abd ul 'Aziz added to their tribute/ 2 

The tribute was increased by two-thirds ; no date 
is given. 3 

Kurra b. Shuraik added 100,000 dinars to the 
tribute. 4 

Usama made each monk pay 1 dinar. 

'Umar II freed the estates of the church and the 
bishops from kharaj, but Yazld restored these taxes. 5 

In the reign of Hisham the tribute was doubled. 6 

Ibn ul Habhab increased the tribute by one-eighth 
or one-twenty-fourth. 7 

Abu 1 Kasim doubled the tribute. 8 

In 167 Musa b. Mus'ab doubled what was taken 
from each feddan, and laid taxes on those who had 
stalls in the markets and on animals. This was 

1 M., 2, 492 ; S., 134. ' Suli, 217. S., 136. 4 S., 140. 8 S., 143. 
S., 145. T S., ISO ; K. 73 ; M., 2, 492. S., 155, 163. K., 125. 


evidently part of the policy of the caliph Harun, who 
added to the tribute of the Christians so that many 
emigrated and fled from their estates, leaving them 
,in the hands of the Arabs. 1 

Another increase was made in 213. 2 

The phrase, ' doubled the tribute ', is so common 
that clearly it is not to be taken literally. Even 
if Christian evidence is suspect, there is enough 
Muslim testimony to prove that the tribute of Egypt 
was made heavier. 

The mode of assessment, outlined in the demand 
notes of the governor preserved among the papyri, 
is described by Makrlzi, following Ibn 'Abd ul 
Hakam. This account takes the original assessment 
for granted, and treats of increases only. The 
method is the same. ' 'Amr, when he was sure of the 
tribute (or, had received assurances from the 
officials), fixed for the Copts the tribute paid before 
to the Greeks. That had been allotted justly. If a 
village had been cultivated and populous, the 
tribute had been increased ; if the people were few 
and the land neglected, it was diminished. Those 
who knew the villages, the officials, and the heads of 
the people came together and examined the state 
of cultivation ; then, if they decided on an increase, 
they allotted this between the districts. They met 
the village headmen, and divided it according to the 
capacity of the villages and the extent of their fields. 
Then each one took its share (of the increase), and 
combined it with the tribute and the cultivated 

1 S.A., 2, 3. a K., 185. 


area. They began by subtracting two feddans from 
the total area for their churches, carts, and boats; 
then they subtracted enough to meet the entertain- 
ment of Muslims and visits of the ruler. Next they 
estimated the number of workmen and hireling^' in 
each village, and gave them shares according to 
their ability. If there were any fugitives (from 
other places) they were given shares equal to their 
ability. A share was seldom given except to young 
or married men. Then they took what was left of 
the tribute, and divided it among themselves in 
proportion to the size of their holdings. Then a 
re-arrangement was made for those who were ready 
to cultivate according to their capacity. If a man 
could not cultivate his land and pleaded inability, 
they gave what he could not work to those who 
could; and he who was ready to do more than 
his share supplied the deficiences of the weak. If 
they acted stingily towards each other, division was 
made according to their preparedness. The basis of 
the division was the twenty-four kirats in the dinar. 

' Each feddan paid \ ardebb of wheat and 2 waiba, 
that is 12 mudd, of barley. Clover (or, mimosa leaves 
for tanning) was not taxed. 'Umar took from 
tributaries the appointed sum, neither more nor less. 
He considered the case of those who surrendered on 
condition of paying tribute though no sum had been 
fixed ; if needful, he fixed it low, but if they were 
rich he made it higher/ 1 

It is well to emphasize certain points in this des- 
cription. The agreement with the papyri has already 
been noted. Land is held by the commune rather 

1 M., 1,77. 


than by individuals. Fugitives, who have tried to 
escape the burden of taxation, do not succeed in 
doing so entirely. Certain fields are set apart to 
meet the cost of public works, but this does not 
m^n any lightening of the burden of tribute, for it 
presses more heavily on the remaining land. The 
entertainment of Muslims is a communal matter, not 
a private one, as is suggested by most references to 
this duty. In its emphasis on the fairness and the 
good temper of the proceedings, it reads like a 
rescript from the governor. 


Men who pay tribute are of three sorts: landowners, 
who pay out of the produce of the land, craftsmen, 
who pay out of their earnings, and merchants, who 
deal in money and pay out of their profits ; as 
payers of tribute they are all in the same class. 1 
This statement by 'Umar II agrees with the papyri, 
which show that tradesmen paid a special tax in 
place of the land tax. 

Most detailed accounts of the land tax refer to 
Mesopotamia. A selection of them follows. The 
unit of measurement is always the jarlb, a square of 
60 cubits side, the area sown by a jarib, a measure 
of capacity. 

One dirham and 1 kafiz. ' He left them the palms 
for their own use/ 2 

Vineyards 10 dir. 3 Vineyards 10 dir. 4 

Palms 5 (10 B.) Vegetables 6 

Sugarcane 6 Sesame 5 

Wheat 4 ,, Summer greens 3 ,, 

Barley 2 Cotton 5 

* Umar,99. B., 269 ; Suli, 218. 8 B., 269 ; Suli, 218. 4 Suli, 218. 


Peas, vineyards, sesame, vegetables, 8 dir. 

Palms were not taxed. 

Vineyards and vegetables, 10 dir. Wheat, 2 dir., 2 jarlb? 

Cotton 5 dir. Barley 1 dir., 1 jarib. 

One palm (farisi) I Bad land 

One palm (dikla) % 

Rough wheat l din. and 1 sa. 

Medium wheat 1 ,, 

Fine wheat {f ,, 

Barley paid about half these rates and vegetables, 
etc., were free. Gardens(palms,fruit trees, vineyards), 
10 dirhams. 2 

These lists all agree with the statement that the 
tribute of Mesopotamia was fixed by * measurement ' 

The figures are very different from those given 
by Ibn Hawkal for Persia, where the tribute was also 
by * measurement '. Taxes were heaviest in Shiraz. 
His figures are for the big jarib, 3 of the small jarib. 

Wheat and barley (watered by streams) . . 170 dir. 

Trees (watered by streams) . . . . 192 

Vegetables (watered by streams) . . 237 

Vineyards (watered by streams) . . 1,425 

In Kuvar taxes were two-thirds of the above. 
There had been no tax on vines and fruit trees in 
the plains till 302, when 'AH b. 'Isa b. ul Jarrah 
imposed the land tax. 3 

Ibn Hawkal also says that in Egypt Jawhar, the 
minister of Al Mu'izz, made the rate 7 dinars on the 
feddan ; before it had been 3j. 4 

In part of Upper Egypt, the corn tax had been at 
the time of the Fatimids 3 ardebb on the feddan, in 
572 it was 2j,and later 2. 5 

1 B., 270. * B., 271. I.H., 216. 4 I.H., 108. M,, 1, 101, 


Kalkashandi says that in Upper Egypt the fedddn 
of wheat paid 2 or 3 ardebb, and 1, 2, or 3 dirhams 
with every ardebb. Sometimes money only was 
paid. In the Delta money only was paid till 570; 
thfe best land paid 40 dirhams and second quality 30. 
Later the tax was raised to 100 dirhams and 80. In 
810 a fedddn of the best land paid 400 or even 600 
dirhams. Other land paid in proportion. 1 

Some comment is necessary. The kaj Iz was either 
\ or try of the jarlb. Now a crop may be anything 
from thirteen to twenty-five times the amount of seed 
sown. So the tax in kind, if it were one kafiz, would 
be, at the highest estimate, one-seventy-eighth part, 
or one hundred and one-thirtieth of the crop. The 
addition of the dirham to be paid in money would 
not bring the tax anywhere near the tithe which the 
Muslim farmer paid. A tax of two jarib (capacity) 
sounds more reasonable. Ibn Hawkal's figures 
seem to err on the other side ; especially the tax on 
vineyards, unless the policy of the government was 
to tax them out of existence. It is impossible to 
believe that palms were tax free. Possibly, in those 
parts where isolated trees only were found, there 
was no tax on them. It is definitely said that soli- 
tary palms, regarded as common property, were not 
taxed. 2 It is more likely that the figures, one dinar 
or a half on each palm, according to the quality of 
the tree, are right. The Turkish government levied 
a tax of seven piastres on each tree, though they are 
said to have been not over-careful in counting them. 

1 Subh., 3, 453. * B., 271. 



Most of the information about the poll-tax comes 
from the lawyers. Books usually say that it was 
graduated, four, two, or one dinar in lands with 
a gold currency, that is Syria and Egypt, wtele 
where silver was current the dinar was reckoned at 
twelve dirhams, in Mesopotamia and Persia. Another 
theory makes the dinar equal to ten dirhams. This 
system is too simple ; the differences of the schools 
show that this amount of agreement is fictitious. 

The views of the four imams are these : 

Abu Hanlfa says that the poll-tax is fixed at 12, 
24, and 48 dirhams. 

Ahmad b. Hanbal says that it is not fixed, but is 
at the discretion of the ruler. Another version of 
his teaching is, that the lower limit is fixed but not 
the upper. 

Malik says that it is fixed at 4 dinars or 40 dirhams. 
Probably he mentions the highest rate only, and 
takes the others for granted. 

Shafe'i says that it is fixed, 1 dinar on rich and 
poor alike. 

These differences reflect different local conditions. 
Sha'rani says this definitely, for he writes, ' These 
differences are due to the fact that the imams take 
into account the conditions prevailing in the 
countries in which they live '. 

If a man were too poor to pay the lowest rate, 
Shafe'i held that he should be banished. The 
other three held that he should be excused payment. 1 
Another writer says that he who cannot pay the 
graded tax should be given relief. 2 

1 Mizan,2, 161. Yahya, 9. 


From this statement of the lawyers' views, it is 
clear that the commonly accepted history is a later 

Opinions differed as to who paid. Abii Yusuf 
says that women, boys, the poor in receipt of alms, 
the indigent blind, the paralyzed, and the aged 
did not pay. Some add to this list servants, 
lunatics, and men who live in cells. On the other 
hand, Shafe'i held that the paralyzed, aged, blind, 
monks, and hired servants paid. 1 In one place the 
Kitdb ul Umm assumes that women may at times 
pay. 2 Hasan ul Basri said, ' Monks pay no jizya 
because they are poor and have left the world/ 3 In 
the treaty of 'Ishoyahbh, it is stipulated that poor 
priests and monks shall not pay tribute. 4 Ibn 'Abd 
ul Hakam knows that monks pay no taxes, for 
' dhimmis have to bear the tribute of those of them 
who turn monks '. 5 Abu Yusuf says that rich monks 
were taxed. If a convent had estates or property in 
trust, the father superior paid for the monks under 
him. If he pleaded poverty, he was allowed to take an 
oath valid in his religion, and was excused payment. 6 
Theodosius, a Chalcedonian Christian, who held high 
office in Alexandria, was an enemy of the Coptic patri- 
arch Agatho, and made him pay thirty-six dinars jizya 
for his disciples. Presumably these were monks, so 
we may conclude that at that time it was not usual 
for monks to pay tribute. 7 It has already been said 
that in Egypt 'Abd ul 'Aziz made the monks pay 
jizya,) while Usama's action was to prevent men 
escaping tribute by becoming monks. 'Ali b. 'Isa 

1 Kh., 69 ; Mizan, 2, 160. a Uram, 4,98. 8 Suli, 216. 

4 B.H. Eccl., 3, 115 f. 8 Hakam, 156. Kh., 69. T S., 113. 


wished to take the jizya from bishops, monks, and 
poor Christians, but the caliph Muktadir stopped 
him. 1 


The rules for this varied. Where there was a gold 
currency they had to be entertained for three days, 
but in South Mesopotamia only for a day and a night. 
The food to be supplied was bread, porridge, condi- 
ments, oil, milk, ghee, cooked vegetables, fish, or 
meat, whatever was easy to provide. Three was 
the maximum number to be received. 2 Hims is 
said to have come under the one day and night rule. 3 
If rain delayed these guests beyond the legal time, 
they had to pay. 4 When some dhimmis complained 
to 'Umar that these guests laid on them a burden 
greater than they could bear, asking for chicken and 
sheep, he said, * Give them only what you yourselves 
eat and such of your food as is lawful for them.' 5 
Mamiin gave orders to release the Christians from 
the duty of providing lodgings in their houses for 
soldiers. 6 


'Umar I instituted taxes on trade. The common 
tradition is that the rates were, for a Muslim 2 
per cent, for a dhimmi 5, and for a foreigner 10. 
The tax was paid once a year only. Malik, however, 
held, that it was paid on every trade journey. A 
Taghlibi or Nejrani was on the same footing as 
another dhimmi, but a Magian was treated as a 

1 M., 2, 495 ; Eut., 2, 517. a Uram,4, 102, 104. Azdi, 152. 
4 Hakam, 152. I.A., 1, 179. S.A., 2, 15. 

1 Most of this section comes from Kh., 77 f.; M., 2, 121. 


foreigner. Another tradition is that only foreigners 
paid this tax, at a rate of 10 per cent. Another says 
10 per cent on dhimmis, and still another that a 
dhimmi did not pay in his own province, but every 
time he went outside it he paid 10 per cent. 

'Umar I took from the Nabataeans 5 per cent of 
the wheat and oil, to encourage the transport of 
these goods to Medina, and 10 per cent on the 
pulse. A governor in the time of 'Umar took 10 
per cent from the Nabataeans. 1 The author tries to 
reconcile these two statements, but evidently knows 
nothing about the matter. Another version of the 
same tradition is that 'Umar took 10 per cent from 
Copts in Medina, and 5 per cent on wheat and 

The tax on slaves was 10 dirhams and on horses 
and camels 8. 2 The minimum taxable was 200 
dirhams, 20 dinars or 20 mithkals\ but 'Umar II is 
said to have made 10 dinars the minimum for a 
dhimmi '; this was the doctrine of Abu Hanifa. 

The goods of a slave were not taxed. A dhimmi 
wine merchant had to have his goods valued by two 
other dhimmis. If a dhimmi declared that his debts 
equalled the value of his goods, he paid nothing. At 
one time in Yemen taxes on winepresses, bridges, 
and roads were abolished, but had to be restored 
because of the loss to the revenue. 

In the fourth century, in Persia, in addition to the 
religious taxes, there were tithes on shipping, fifths 
from mines and pastures, profit on the mint, tax 
establishments (octroi, toll bars?) in towns, store- 
houses, dues on salt pans and swamps, dues on the 

1 Umra.,4,125. * M., 1, 103. 


sale of perfumes. The item storehouses included 
rent of ground, mills, and rosewater factories. Most 
of these taxes were the same, or nearly so, in all 
provinces. 1 Makrizi gives a long list of dues that 
had to be paid in Egypt. Many brought in so little 
that they cannot have covered the cost of collection. 
Probably many of these existed from the earliest 

Rabf a b. Shurahbll was controller of these taxes 
in Egypt under 'Amr b. 1 'As, and Zuraik b. 
Hayyan in Ubulla under 'Umar II. Anas b. Slrln 
was appointed to collect them in Ubulla, but refused 
the post, 2 for ' the pious of an earlier generation 
disapproved of them '. Perhaps this disapproval 
may be connected with a change in the meaning of 
the word maks. Originally it was quite general, and 
meant tribute tax. Later it was limited to certain 
special dues which were not mentioned in the Koran 
or Traditions, and were consequently looked at 
askance by all good Muslims. 

'Umar II is said to have abolished these dues. 3 
This may be an anachronism ; still it may be true, 
for it is evident that taxes were levied which had no 
place in the legal system. 

Mansur first started a tax on shops in 167, and in 
the same year the governor in Egypt as part of 
the caliph's policy put a tax on stalls in the market 
and on animals. 4 

The year 250 saw the introduction into Egypt of a 
monopoly of natron, and dues on grazing and 
fishing. Though they brought in 100,000 dinars 

1 I.H., 217. 3 M., 2, 123 ; Husn, 1, 74. M., 1, 103. 

4 K., 125; M., 1,103. 


yearly, Ahmad b. Tulun abolished them. They were 
introduced again under the Fatimids,and were called 
maks. Saladin abolished them, but his son 'Uthman 
re-introduced them. We hear of some dues the 
aliolition of which was opposed by the Copts. In 
801, Balbagha abolished the rent (assessment) of the 
Cattle Lake, but the Copts restored it. He also 
found that some dues in Egypt brought in about 
70,000 dirhams daily, that the government got no 
profit from them, but that they profited the Copts 
and their servants. He proposed to do away with 
them, but did not succeed. 1 In 389 it was proposed 
to tax certain kinds of cloth made in Baghdad, but 
the opposition was so strong that the proposal had 
to be dropped. 2 In 479 Malikshah abolished trade 
dues and tolls in Irak. 3 


The methods of exaction were not as severe as 
they might have been. Apparently, the subjects were 
allowed considerable latitude in the payment of taxes, 
for there are frequent complaints in the papyri of 
delay in payment and other forms of slackness. 
'Umar is said to have compelled the Nabataeans of 
Syria to give some of their fruits and chaff to the 
Muslims, but they were not forced to cart it for 
them. 4 At times relief was given. A Copt said to 
'Amr, * If I lead you to a place whence ships can 
go till they reach Mecca, will you release me and my 
family from tribute ? ' * Amr agreed. 5 When Barka 
was first conquered, no collector of tribute entered 

1 M., 1, 107 ; Subh., 3,460. * Eel., 3, 336. Ath., y. 479. 

* LA., 1,179. 8 Hakam, 166. 


it : they sent the money when it was due. 1 Mr. Bell's 
judgment is perhaps more severe. 2 * To sum 
up, while the evidence is not at present such as to 
justify very positive conclusions, it seems probable 
that the Arab government, during the first century 
of the Hejira, was on the whole efficient and not 
noticeably oppressive, but that the nature of the 
fiscal system (which, be it remembered, was 
inherited from the Byzantine empire) tended to a 
constant increase in the burden of the taxpayers, 
and gave exceptional opportunity for the exactions 
of the subordinate officials.' 

In later times the land tax was paid in instalments, 
and this was probably the case from the first. 3 The 
poll-tax seems to have been paid as a whole. 

In Egypt, the pensions and rations of the Arabs 
enrolled in the diwan, and their families, repairs to 
the dykes, rations of the clerical staff, and the supply 
of corn for the Hedjaz were provided out of the 
tribute ; the balance was sent to the capital of the 
empire. 4 

It is to be noted that the Byzantine empire 
levied land, corn, and poll taxes, and its officials when 
travelling received free entertainment. It is at least 
a curious coincidence that its senators paid a tax, the 
three grades of which were in the proportion of 
four, two, and one. 

The following conclusions are probable. The 
original terms made with the conquered places were 
almost forgotten. When remembered, the historians 
interpreted them in the light of later conditions, and 
so misunderstood them. The clearest example of 

1 Hakam, 171. * B.M,, 4, xli. M., 1, 405. 4 M., 1, 79. 


this process is the words kharaj and jizya> which 
both meant tribute. 

'Umar's settlement was not a homogeneous system, 
but varied from town to town, and was less com- 
prehensive and thorough than historians make out. 

The distinction between ( capitulated ' and ' con- 
quered ' is a legal fiction. Within a few years of 
the conquest the Muslims treated the subject 
peoples much as they chose. 

The original tribute was that paid to the preced- 
ing government ; it may have been about two dinars 
a head in the west. 

The graded poll-tax was first levied in Mesopo- 

At first monks did not pay poll-tax. 

The subject peoples at first bore the whole weight 
of taxation ; though it is not possible to decide how 
heavy that was. It certainly grew heavier, but then 
the dhimmis did not bear the whole weight, for the 
Muslims paid land tax, the religious taxes were paid 
into the treasury, and Muslims and dhimmis alike 
were liable to the other burdens. 


The poll-tax became known later as fawali. 
When Saladin conquered Jerusalem, in 583, the 
Christians native to the town obtained permission 
to reside there by paying the poll-tax. 1 In the 
middle of the third century, the poll-tax from 
Baghdad is given as 120,000 dirhams, and again as 
200,000. 2 That of Misr (Egypt, or Cairo) was 
130,000 dinars in 587 and 11,400 in 816. 3 It was 

1 Ath., y. 583. * Khurdadbeh, 125, 251. M., 1, 107. 


paid according to the lunar year. 1 In 682 it was 
paid in Muharram, having been postponed from 
Ramadan, the usual date. 2 

In 674 part of Nubia was conquered, and the in- 
habitants given the choice between the poll-tax afcid 
death. They agreed to pay one dinar for all adult 
males. 3 Kalkashandi says that the poll-tax used 
to be in three grades 4j dinars, 2 -A, and l!i, with 
2j dirhams added to pay the accountant and his 
assistants. In the writer's own day it had grown 
less; the highest grade was 25 dirhams and the 
lowest 10. 4 

The poll-tax was paid separately before the land 
tax and after the dues named hilali, rents of build- 
ings, fishing dues, etc., which were paid monthly. 
It was paid annually, though it had been proposed 
to have it paid monthly for convenience in the case 
of a man dying or turning Muslim. 5 Lawyers 
differed as to what should be done when a dhimmi 
died before he had paid his tax. Some held that the 
payment lapsed, others that it was to be recovered 
from his estate. 6 There was the same difference 
about a convert. 'Umar II ruled that the tax ought 
not to be taken from a dhimmi for the year in 
which he was converted. 7 It is clear that his ruling 
was not accepted. 

In 678 Saif ud Din Kalawun abolished a tax of one 
dinar on the dhimmis over and above the poll-tax 
which had been paid for eighteen years. It was 
called mukarrar un nasara* 

1 M M 1, 276. * Q., 3, 39. Q., 2, 130. Subh., 3, 462. 

8 M., 1, 107. Mizan, 2, 161. ' Ibn Sa'd, 5, 262. 

8 M., 1,106; Q.,3,3. 


Figures giving the totals for tribute are irritating 
in their fewness and vagueness. 

Alexandria began by paying 18,000 dinars, and in 
the reign of Hisham it paid 36,000. The prefect 
M^nas exhorted 32,056 pieces of gold presumably 
dinars from the town. He was dismissed, and his 
successor demanded only 22,000, the rightful sum. 1 
The figure 600,000 dinars, reached by assuming a 
population of 300,000 paying 2 dinars a head, is 
obviously a fiction. 

A number of totals are given for Egypt as a whole. 

Date A.H. 

19-25. 2,000,000 dinars. 'Amr, governor. 

26-35. 4,000,000 'Abdulla b. Sa'd, governor. 

47-62. Surplus sent to Damascus, 600,000. Maslama, 

c. 107. 4,000,000. 'Abdulla b. Habhab, finance minister. 

Expenses 2,700,783. (Tribute 2,723,783. Ibn 


200. 4,275 ,000 (2 dinars on the feddan). Mamun, caliph. 
254. The tribute had sunk to l.ttrVMi (the text has 
800,000,000), but Ahmad b. Tulun raised it to 

358. 3,400,000. Jawhar. (3,200,000. Ibn Hawkal.) 
463. 2,800,000. 2 

These figures are enough to show that the twelve 
millions attributed to 'Amr and Usama, and the 
fourteen millions given to 'Abdulla b. Sa'd, are 

Three figures are given for Hims 340,000, 
218,000, and 118,000 dinars. No argument can be 
based on them. 8 At the time of the conquest Barka 

1 B., 223 ; J.N., 384. M., 1,79, 98 ; B., 216 ; KhurtLadbeh, 83 ; I.H., 108, 
8 KhuKladbeh,76,246,25l, 



paM 131000 dinars. 1 Ibn Khaldun's tribute list 
gives it 1,000,000. 

Thus me tribute in Egypt grew smaller while the 
rate of lai\d tax rose from one dinar the feddan to 

Occasional acts of grace on the part of the ruler 
are recordeu. Thus Mamun was kind to the people 
of Edessa, and ordered all burdens and taxes to 
be removed from them. As it stands this must be 
'an exaggeration ; it may have been a temporary 
measure. He entered the great church and wonder- 
ed at its beauty. He asked the metropolitan what 
its revenue was. The bishop said, * By thy grace, O 
king, its wealth is great ; but also much of the 
income is spent in the burden of the taxes laid 
upon it.' Mamun then ordered that no tax should 
be levied on the inns, shops, baths, and mills (belong- 
ing to it), but only on gardens and agricultural land ; 
for he said that it was not right that anything with 
a roof should pay taxes. 2 This idea was not peculiar 
to Mamun, for two legal opinions have been pre- 
served ; that if a Muslim or a dhimmi builds a shop 
on kharaj land, it pays no taxes, and if Muslims 
settle on ownerless land and make a market, there 
is no tax on it. 3 

The Muslim year was lunar, so there were more 
calendar years than agricultural. Khalid ul Kasri 
stopped the intercalation in the Persian calendar. 
It has been noted already that the taxes of the solar 
year 88 were paid in 91. Apparently there was no 
systematic equalization of the two calendars, but 
from time to time a year was dropped. So in the 

1 Hakam, 170. * S.A., 2, 23. B., 448. 


time of Mutawakkil 241 was counted as 242 *fcor 
the purpose of finance. A year was dropped at 278, 
at 499 two were dropped, another at 507, and two 
more at 565. 

In the course of his reign Mu'tadid shifted 
Nawruz from 11 Safar to 13 Rabr II, which was 11 
Hazlran. 1 


In a guide to the duties of a civil servant, the 
following instructions for the collection of poll-tax 
are given. It is to be collected without violence or 
flogging. The dhimmi need not sell his cattle, asses, 
or sheep to pay it. He has to stand while paying, 
and the officer who receives it sits. The dhimmi 
has to be made to feel that he is an inferior 
person when he pays, he is not to be treated with 
honour. 2 

Further details are given in this quotation. ' The 
dhimmi, Christian or Jew, goes on a fixed day in 
person (at first a substitute was forbidden) to the 
emir appointed to receive the poll-tax. He sits on a 
high throne. The dhimmi appears before him, offer- 
ing the poll-tax on his open palm. The emir takes 
it so that his hand is on top and the dhimmi s below. 
Then the emir gives him a blow on the neck, and 
one who stands before the emir drives him roughly 
away. . . . The public is admitted to see this show.' 3 

I have not been able to discover what authority 
the writer had for these statements. 

In the beginning payment in kind was allowed. 
It is said that 'Ali accepted ropes and needles. 

1 M., 1, 274-81. 2 Suli, 215. 3 Rainer, 672. 


Carcases, wine, and pigs were not accepted, but the 
taxpayer might sell them and pay the proceeds into 
the treasury. 1 


The custom of allowing the governors to receive 
presents on festivals, particularly Nawruz, was 
especially open to abuse. Probably it always existed 
but Arab historians have discovered the originator 
of it. Either Walld b. 'Ukba or Hajjaj began it. 
'Umar II stopped it, but it began afresh in the days 
of Mamun, when Ahmad b. Yusuf gave him a sack 
of gold. 2 During the reign of Mu'awia, the revenue 
of Kufa was fifty million dirhams and as much again 
in presents. Under Ibn Zubair the revenue was 
sixty million dirhams, and gifts amounted to twenty 
millions. 8 

1 Kh., 69 ; Soli, 215. 2 Suli, 220 ; Subh., 2, 409. Suli, 219. 


THIS study of the relations between the govern- 
mgnt and its subjects who did not profess Islam can 
only produce confusion in the mind. At one 
moment the dhimmi appears as a persecuted worm 
who is entirely negligible, and the next complaint is 
made of his pernicious influence on the Muslims 
round him. Laws were made, observed for a time, 
and then forgotten till something brought them to 
the remembrance of the authorities. There is no 
constitutional growth; events move in irregular 
curves, not in a straight line. One feels that if 
events had been governed by logic, Islam would 
have swallowed up the subject religions; but they 
survive, vigorous though battered. 

A few dates are fixed and some periods can be 
marked off roughly, though the boundaries are 
vague. Under the first Umayyads, the conquerors 
were on fairly good terms with the vanquished. 
Most of the minor officials were not Muslims, and 
many of the victors were better Arabs than Muslims. 
Historians delight to picture the justice of the con- 
querors. Take such a scene as this. 'Amr b. 1 'As 
was sitting on the ground in his palace with his 
Arabs, when the Makaukas came to visit him. A 
golden throne was carried with him, that he might 
sit on it after the manner of kings. He did so sit 
on it in the presence of *Amr, who made no objec- 
tion to his doing so. Thus the Muslims kept the 
treaty they had made with him. 1 There was, how- 

1 I.Khald.,260. 


ever, a darker side to the picture. 'Amr was told 
that a man in Upper Egypt, whose name was Peter, 
had a treasure. As the man denied all knowledge 
of any treasure, he was put in prison. 'Amr asked if 
he were ever heard to enquire about any special pQr- 
son, and was told that he had asked after a certain 
monk. 'Amr wrote to the monk, sealing the letter 
with Peter's seal, * Send me that you have.* The 
messenger brought back a Syrian pot sealed with 
lead; inside was a paper with the words, 'Your 
money is under the big pool '. 'Amr drained the 
pool, removed the flooring, and found there fifty-two 
ardebbs of gold in coin. c Amr had Peter executed 
at the door of the mosque, and then all the Copts 
brought out their treasures in fear of a like fate. 1 
John of Nikiou says that 'Amr was of savage 
extraction, treated the Egyptians without pity, and 
did not keep the treaties he had made with them. 2 

The rule of Islam was often burdensome, the 
revolts in Egypt prove it. 'Umar II might order a 
governor to distribute the surplus cash in his 
treasury among the dhimmis after the needs of the 
Muslims had been satisfied, 3 but as a rule they had 
to provide the money which the state wanted and 
got nothing for it. Probably, at first, the subjects did 
not pay heavier taxes than they had paid to the 
previous governments, but in one way and another 
the burden grew steadily heavier. There can be no 
doubt that, at the end of the first century, the reign 
of 'Umar II saw the beginning of definite disabilities 
for the dhimmis. Restrictions were placed on their 
dress, and the attempt to oust them from official 

1 M., 1, 76. a J.N., 377 ; cf. 355. * Umar, 67. 


posts began. It may be remarked that 'Umar II is 
the typical pious persecutor, scrupulously just in his 
dealings with individuals while he tries to suppress 
the dhimmis as a class. 1 Not all of his laws were 
enforced ; for, in the time of Mamun, the inhabitants 
of Harran still wore the kuba and long hair. His 
attempt to drive the dhimmis from government 
service was even less successful. 

During the second century the Muslim spirit 
hardened. In the days of Harun Rashld, a lawyer 
could say that idolaters were entitled to the privi- 
leges of the people of the book, yet Mamun gave 
the people of Harran the choice between Islam and 
death. At the same time the laws about dress were 
made more stringent, and the idea took shape that 
churches might not be built. 

The next fixed point is the reign of Mutawakkil. 
His laws deserve the name of persecution. Yet his 
zeal was strangely impersonal, for he was on the 
best of terms with his Christian doctors. His were 
the most severe laws that were issued against the 
dhimmis ; in later times it was enough to put them 
in force. 

It is only fair to say that the conduct of the rulers 
was often better than the law demanded. Places of 
worship were built in purely Arab towns ; Chris- 
tians, guilty of misconduct with Muslim women, 
were only fined instead of being put to death; 
apostasy was not always punished with death ; men 
of various faiths studied under Muslim masters. Jews 
and Christians were always to be found in public 
service, indeed they sometimes held the highest posts. 

1 Umar; Jauzi, 104. 


They could amass wealth ; indeed, indiscreet display 
of wealth and power was often the cause of the evils 
that befell them. On paper, many things were forbid- 
den them ; the public celebration of weddings and 
funerals, feasts, and church ceremonies. It was ,3, 
punishable offence to tread intentionally on the 
skirt of a Muslim's garment, and they had to leave 
the centre of the road to the Muslims. 1 Kinglake 
tells that, in his day in Damascus, a native Christian 
dared not walk on the footpath. Yet, in spite of the 
laws, Christians jostled Muslims, were employed by 
them in positions of trust, and Muslims seized the 
Christian feasts as opportunities of merrymaking. 

Mu'tasim bought the monastery at Samarra that 
stood where he wanted to build his palace. 2 Other 
caliphs destroyed churches to obtain material for 
their buildings, and the mob was always ready to 
pillage churches and monasteries. Though dhimmis 
might enjoy great prosperity, yet always they lived 
on sufferance, exposed to the caprices of the ruler 
and the passions of the mob. The episode of al 
Hakim must be regarded as the freak of a mad man, 
and not typical of Islam. But in later times the 
position of the dhimmis did change for the worse. 
They were much more liable to suffer from the 
violence of the crowd, and the popular fanaticism 
ivas accompanied by an increasing strictness 
among the educated. The spiritual isolation of Islam 
ivas accomplished. The world was divided into 
two classes, Muslims and others, and only Islam 
:ounted. There were brilliant exceptions, but the 
general statement is true. If a Muslim gave any 

1 Path, 1,334. * Mas.T., 357. 


help to the religion of a dhimmi, he was to be 
summoned thrice to repentance, and then, if obdu- 
rate, he was to be put to death. 1 Indeed, the general 
feeling was that the leavings of the Muslims were 
gpod enough for the dhimmis. 

It has been proved that 'Umar I did not destroy 
the library at Alexandria. In addition to other 
reasons, one may argue that the words put into his 
mouth, * If the books agree with the Koran, they are 
unnecessary ; if they do not, they are pernicious \ 
reveal the mind of a later age, when Islam had 
become intellectually proud. Practically the same 
story is told of a governor of Khorasan in the third 

About the covenant of 'Umar, it is only needful to 
collect what has been said in scattered places. 
Reference to the covenant does not become common 
till quite late. In the first century it is ignored. In 
the second some of its provisions are sometimes 
observed. By 200 it existed in the traditional 
form, but with many minor variations. The agree- 
ments made by Muslim commanders with conquered 
towns are not modelled on it. Some of its provisions 
seem to have been first enacted by 'Umar II, which 
may have helped the attribution of it to his greater 
namesake. The covenant mentioned by Abu Yusuf 
may have been an early form of this document, but 
probably he had in mind some special treaty or a 
general claim of rights made by the dhimmis. The 
covenant was drawn up in the schools of law, and 
came to be ascribed, like so much else, to 'Umar I. 

1 Path, 1, 334. 



Abu Daud 
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B.H. Eccl. 
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I. Khali. . . Biographical Dictionary, Ibn Khallikan, 

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Ikd . . Al 'Ifcd ul farid, Ibn 'abd rabbihi. 

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Siyasetnameh .. Paris, 1891. 

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Mez . . Die Renaissance des Islams. 

Rylands . . Bulletin of the John Rylands Library. 


'Abd ul 'Aziz, 20, 35, 42 f ., 78, 103, 

%40 f., 209 f., 217. 
'Abdulla b. Tahir, 49 f., 82 f., 99, 

'Abd ul Malik, 18, 20, 25, 41, 90, 

127, 140, 166, 169, 176, 192 f., 

205, 210. 
Abu Hamfa, 17, 38, 89, 176-9, 

182, 186, 216. 

Abu 'Ubaida, 6, 8 f., 11, 40, 102, 

204 f. 
Abu Zubaid, 103, 141, 165, 175, 

177, 185. 
Ahmad b. Hanbal, 16, 38, 89, 177, 

179, 182, 186, 216. 
Ahmad b. Tulun, 3, 23, 52, 107, 

130, 152, 221, 225. 

Al Akhtal, 90, 115, 140 f ., 165 f., 

169, 177, 185, 194. 
Al Asbagh, 35, 103, 127, 141, 173. 
Alexandria, 19-21, 42, 65 f., 70, 

76, 86, 92, 106, 135, 172, 225, 

Al Hakim, 26, 31, 54, 109, 120, 

131, 184, 195. 

'Amr b. 1 'As, 24, 39, 42, 102, 124, 

183, 185, 207-9, 220 f., 225, 
229 f. 

Antioch, 43, 79 f., 82-4, 94, 108, 

153 f. 

Athanasius, 19 f., 43, 78 f., 127. 
Baghdad, 3 f ., 24-6, 45, 47, 51 f., 

56, 83-5, 87, 93 f., 109 f., 119- 

21, 123, 126, 131, 155, 161, 

164, 221, 223. 

Blood money, 13, 98, 178-81. 
Bukam, 23, 49, 118, 147, 178. 
Catholicus, see Patriarch. 
Church, 5-11, 14, 20, 34, 37-66, 

69 f., 76 f., 100-13, 130 f., 139, 

187, 212. 

Cross, 6 f., 74, 100-9, 112 f., 

118, 120, 125. 
Damascus, 6-9, 39-41, 43, 51, 57, 

95, 102, 105 f., 132, 162, 177, 

202, 232. 
Doctors, 18, 25, 93, 96, 148, 155- 

Dress, 6 f., 14, 30 f., 33, 75, 95 f., 

Festivals, 7, 14, 44, 46, 49, 57, 

101-14, 171 f. 
Fire temples, 44 f., 187. 
Hair, 6 f ., 116 f., 125. 
Harran, 44, 48 f ., 57, 81, 117, 183, 

206, 231. 
Harun Rashid, 37, 44, 47, 106, 

114, 117 f., 147, 156 f., 163, 165, 

193, 211, 231. 
Head of the Dispersion, 33, 96 f ., 

Hims, 9, 18, 39, 60, 151, 206, 218, 

Hisham, 22, 43, 79 f., 106, 125, 

129, 210, 225. 
Hedjaz, 14, 89, 175 f ., 222. 
Houses, tall, 6, 8, 34, 100, 113. 
Ibn Taimiya, 17, 123. 
Images, 44 f., 101, 103 f., 111. 
Inheritance, 34, 97, 101 f., 135. 
'Ishoyahbh, 46, 139, 205. 
Jerusalem, 10, 39, 43, 49 f., 54, 

57, 96, 102, 115, 162, 202, 223. 
Jews' hostility to Christians, 51, 

75, 91, 94 f., 105, 116, 132. 
Khalid b. Walld, 9, 39, 204. 
Khalid ul Kasri, 22, 45, 226. 
Kindness to dhimmis, 49, 54, 98, 

106, 137 f., 141, 163, 165, 168, 

Kufa, 19, 45, 56, 104, 165, 177, 



Magians, 5, 27, 44, 97 f ., 101, 119, 

123, 154, 179, 188. 
Malik, 16, 38, 53, 89, 129, 177, 179, 

181, 186 f,, 190, 216, 218. 
Mamun, 3, 23, 25, 35, 44, 48, 83, 

95, 113, 146, 148, 158, 170, 183, 

218, 225 f ., 228, 231. 
Mansur, 47, 81, 152, 155 f., 170, 

195, 220. 
Marriage, 12 f., 36,98, 100 f., 136, 

187 f. 

Metropolitan, see Patriarch. 
Monastery, 6 f., 42, 46-57, 71, 75, 

77, 110, 130 f ., 133, 139, 149- 

52, 164, 186, 200 f. 
Monks, 28, 30, 55, 57, 62, 69, 71, 

80, 84, 103, 108 f ., 128, 137, 153, 

163, 186, 217 f., 223. 
Mu'awia, 1, 18 f., 40 f., 94, 102 f , 

155, 166, 176 f., 180, 206, 208 f., 

Mutawakkil, 4, 23, 50 f., 82, 99, 

107, 114, 117 f., 146, 158, 163, 

167, 206, 227, 231. 
N&kus, 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 37, 43, 45, 

100, 102, 104, 107, 112 f., 150. 
Nizam ul Mulk, 27, 148. 
Nur ud Din Zanji, 28, 56, 121, 

181, 186, 191. 
Patriarch, 21, 33, 35, 42 f., 49 f ., 

70, 7&-88, 103, 106, 116, 127- 

31, 139-42, 145, 148, 152, 157, 

172, 217, 226. 
Persia, 19, 26 f ., 38, 44, 93, 98, 104, 

107, 111, 123, 130 f., 148, 151, 

155, 193, 214, 219. 
Pigs, 9, 11, 15, 100 f., 192, 228. 
Poll-tax, 11, 14 f., 36, 88, 124, 145, 

147, 198, 210, 216 f., 222 f., 227. 
Punishments, 11, 13, 17, 30 f., 59, 

69 f., 75, 80, 82, 96 f., 102, 122, 

125, 128 f., 137, 143 f., 227. 
Riots, 28, 31 f., 34, 46 f., 51 f., 55, 

58 f., 61-77, 109, 119, 122, 131, 

142, 144. 

Sabians, 5, 94, 160, 168, 173. 
Saddles, 7, 14, 115-8, 120 f., 

Saladin, 28, 30, 121, 147, 181, 221, 


Samaritans, 5, 27, 93, 97, 121, 206. 
Secretary, 18-23, 25-35, 72, 111, 

168, 177. 
Shafe'i, 16 f., 38, 89, 100 f., 112, 

123, 136, 177, 179, 182, 186 f., 

192, 194, 216 f. 
Slaves, 6 f., 11, 18, 30, 101, 118, 

192, 219. 

Soldiers, 1, 25, 185 f. 
Spain, 25, 35, 45, 93 f ., 112 f., 119, 

148, 171. 

Synagogue, 48, 56, 58 f., 187. 
Taxes, see Tribute. 
Tinnls, 51, 53, 144 f. 
Trade, 14, 26, 89, 93, 110 f., 145, 

190-3, 195, 218-21. 
Tribute, 2 f., 10, 14, 19, 21 f., 

28 f., 44, 57, 89f.,95f., 99, 103, 

137 f., 145, 148, 197-228, 230. 
'Umar I, passim. 
'Umar II, 2, 21, 40 f., 43, 50, 91 f., 

102, 104, 114, 116 f., 119, 141, 

180, 183, 186, 195, 209 f., 213, 

220, 224, 228, 230 f., 233. 
'Uthman, 1, 141, 165, 179. 
Viziers, dhimmi, 24 f., 30, 53, 93. 
Walid b. 'Ukba, 19, 103, 141, 177, 

185, 228. 
Walid, caliph, 2, 41, 43, 90, 92, 

95, 104, 128 f., 176. 
Wine, 6 f ., 9, 13, 15, 57, 62 f., 101, 

110 f., 140, 149 f., 156, 177, 190, 

193-6, 228. 
Witnesses, 13, 186 f. 
Zunntr, 6 f., 14, 82, 112, 115-9, 

121, 123, 150, 158.